Sheffield firm's big move into Heart of the City 'very much still on'

The boss of a Sheffield law firm says plans to move 350 people into the city centre are ‘very much still on’ despite the pandemic.
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Mark Haywood confirmed CMS will move from Victoria Quays into Grosvenor House on Pinstone Street in December.

Lockdown has seen a majority of staff working from home, sparking a debate about how much - if any - office space will be needed in future.

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CMS announced its move in December just before the crisis emerged. It has taken a 20-year lease with building owner Sheffield City Council.

Grosvenor House. Picture Scott MerryleesGrosvenor House. Picture Scott Merrylees
Grosvenor House. Picture Scott Merrylees

But Mr Haywood, MD of English Regions, said the move was never in doubt because the company was legally committed - and they also took a long term view.

He added: “It is very much still on. We were legally committed and as lawyers we understand what that means.

“We have a long term view. It would be disappointing if we were locked for 20 years - or 20 months. At some point a new normal will emerge.

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“We have been in Sheffield for 30 years and want to stay. We are going into this move with confidence and belief in the city.”

Mark Haywood, MD of English Regions at CMS.Mark Haywood, MD of English Regions at CMS.
Mark Haywood, MD of English Regions at CMS.

CMS will share a building with HSBC. It’s new office should be ready on December 7. But it must leave Victoria Quays on October 16.

Mr Haywood added: “Yes there could be a gap, but after six months of working from home we can cope.”

Some staff had been working in the office on a rota system. That continues where it is business or ‘well-being’ critical, he added.

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An office would also allow the relocation of ‘work, people and opportunity’ from the South East where commuting into London is still unpopular due to the virus.


He added: “Geography is not so important when you can work on the hoof. Work is an activity not a place.”

Business at CMS was only ‘slightly down’ on last year, which was ‘fantastic’, he added. But the future was uncertain.

“We all know we are coming to the end of a period of government support for businesses. The legal sector needs to have a pipeline of work.”

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CMS, HSBC, John Lewis and hotel chain Radisson Blu are all committed to the £480m Heart of the City II scheme which is being developed by Sheffield City Council using taxpayers’ cash.

Council chiefs hope big names will give smaller operators the confidence to sign up.