Dismay at closure of Sheffield tools business to make way for more flats

Dismay has been expressed at the closure of a tools business to make way for flats in Sheffield’s trendiest district.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 8:23 am

The sale of Aircraft and Commercial Tools (Sheffield) Ltd, on Bowling Green Street, Kelham Island to developer Grantside prompted a wave of comments from readers on The Star’s Facebook site.

Many were upset at the loss of a business and an old - but not listed - building.

Managing director Richard Frolish said problems from the redevelopment of Kelham for residential projects were among factors that left the firm with no future.

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The building opposite the tools company on South Parade was Parkin silversmiths, it is now flats.
The building opposite the tools company on South Parade was Parkin silversmiths, it is now flats.

It moved to the site in the 1960s but will close by December with the loss of 16 jobs.

Angela Hill said: “That’s what we need - no jobs and more small flats!”

Amanda Whiteley added: “Another part of Sheffield’s history gone. Very sad. At what point do we have more people than jobs?”

Dave Warburton said: “The Steel City won’t be so called much longer.”

A huge steel frame on the former Atkinson Walker Saws site will become flats beside the Shalesmoor inner ring road.

Gill Wild said: “Happened to our firm in 2000, it’s now a Tesco Express and flats at bottom of Corporation Street. We got told then it was going to be the place to live in Sheffield, just a shame a lot of us had to lose our jobs.”

Paul Flewitt: “Just proves councils and government have learned nothing at all from the last 50 years.

“A country that has no industry can't manufacture its way out of a recession. That's why they're getting deeper and more long lasting.”

Luan Roberts: “It’s a shame the older buildings cant be preserved and incorporated - especially the ones with character like this one.”

Image of the interior of the proposed Hive Central flats.

Grantside has submitted a planning application to Sheffield City Council for six-storey flats with 90 ‘co-living units’ and shared facilities.

Fifteen people, Kelham Island and Neepsend Neighbourhood Forum and city ward councillors have objected over short term residents, parking, noise, ligh and the loss of a 19th century building.

But Steve Davis, managing director of Grantside, defended the move as the redevelopment of a brownfield site, with a new high quality building.

And he defended the size of the building stating ‘there is no potential for a loss of significance’ to listed buildings nearby. And they had reduced in size after discussions with Sheffield City Council.

Toolmaker Michael Atter, aged 60, has been at the firm for 45 years.

He added: “The oldest building on the site (2-4 South Parade) has been much altered over time and is currently in a state of disrepair.

“The development is also looking to reuse the existing materials on site where possible in order to retain the site’s heritage and for sustainability purposes towards a circular economy.

“Our belief is that the loss of this non-designated building would be significantly outweighed by the proposal to regenerate this brownfield site with a high-quality, well-designed building offering much-needed new housing and workspace in a highly sustainable, accessible location.”

He added: “There are no windows along the elevation nearest to Hulleys Ladders, which will be the nearest building in commercial use, minimising the potential of any noise impacts from this neighbour.

“The window and ventilation strategy have also been designed to ensure suitable acoustic comfort levels are achieved for the residents.”

Atkinson Walker Saws on Cotton Mill Row is now a construction site.

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.

The Kelham Island Tavern is flanked by flats.
How the flats could look, with existing heritage building at right.
Image of Grantside's proposed flats on Bowling Green Street.