Arundel Gate Sheffield: New city centre shipping container park plans spark huge public reaction

How the new shipping container park planned for Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre would look, according to plans unveiled by the developer Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2How the new shipping container park planned for Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre would look, according to plans unveiled by the developer Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2
How the new shipping container park planned for Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre would look, according to plans unveiled by the developer Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2 | Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2
"Definition of insanity. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result"

Plans for a new shipping container park in Sheffield city centre have prompted a huge reaction after the last one turned into a major fiasco.

How the new shipping container park planned for Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre would look, according to plans unveiled by the developer Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2How the new shipping container park planned for Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre would look, according to plans unveiled by the developer Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2
How the new shipping container park planned for Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre would look, according to plans unveiled by the developer Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2 | Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2

Pond Gate Estate 1 and 2 wants to build a two-storey complex constructed of the containers at Arundel Gate, between the O2 Academy and Odeon Cinema.

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It would be open until 1am each day, would host live music and events, along with bars and street food vendors, and is expected to attract around 1 million visitors a year.

What went wrong with shipping container park on Fargate?

Sheffield Council's own container park venue on Fargate was dismantled in March this year, just six months after the complex comprising of shops, food outlets and a bar had finally opened.

That development was plagued by problems from the start, with the launch being delayed for months, the upstairs bar never opening and the cost, including the removal fee, ballooning to more than double the initial £300,000 budget.

How the Container Park on Fargate in Sheffield city centre looked before it was dismantledHow the Container Park on Fargate in Sheffield city centre looked before it was dismantled
How the Container Park on Fargate in Sheffield city centre looked before it was dismantled | Other

The council had intended to move it to a new site when the redevelopment of Fargate began but such was the debacle it was instead decided to place the containers into storage before using them as toilets or for catering in parks.

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What other shipping container complexes are there in Sheffield?

It should not be forgotten, however, that Sheffield is home to two successful privately run shipping container complexes.

Krynkl, at Shalesmoor, was made using 29 containers set over four floors and is home to the Michelin-recommended Jöro restaurant and the rooftop cocktail bar Kelu, among other businesses.

SteelYard Kelham, run by the company chosen by the council to operate the complex on Fargate, boasts a variety of restaurants, bars and other businesses, including a tattoo studio and barbers.

Unsurprisingly, however, when the new container park plans for Arundel Gate were announced, it was the fiasco at Fargate which was freshest in most people's minds.

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'Did they not learn from the last shipping container disaster?'

Responding to the news, Mick Casey wrote 'great idea after the last one was such a success', accompanying his comment with a facepalm emoji.

Katrina Smithers wrote: "Didn't Sheffield try this once? That didn't work so what's saying it's going to work this time." Phil Young asked: "Did they not learn from the last shipping container disaster? Why not use the buildings that are already vacant in town - there are plenty to choose from."

And Christine Sawyer echoed his comments, saying: "I can't believe they are going to try this caper again. The last lot of containers looked a real mess stuck in the middle of our beautiful architectural buildings.

The Krynkl shipping container complex on ShalesmoorThe Krynkl shipping container complex on Shalesmoor
The Krynkl shipping container complex on Shalesmoor | Other

"The containers end up costing more than proper construction. It's false economy. There are plenty of empty shops just waiting to be used."

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The Fargate complex's opening was delayed after it emerged it was located above a major sewer, to which Yorkshire Water said emergency access was essential. When it did open, it had to be powered by a diesel generator as it proved impossible to hook up to the electricity supply.

Referring to these hitches, Andrew Hawley wrote: "Wonder if they actually do a ground survey this time and apply for the licences beforehand. Oh and check they can hook up to electrics."

Jordan Reid summed up many people's thoughts, writing: "Definition of insanity. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result."

Container parks have proved popular in Newcastle, Manchester and York

Some people were more positive.

Chris Green wrote: "Worked really well in Newcastle when they opened Stack - hopefully this time it works out for us here."

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Laura Ross commented: "These work brilliantly in every other city I've been to. As long as SCC (Sheffield City Council) don't get too involved and they get some decent operators in then it'll be great."

Nicholas Jackson wrote: "Manchester has one of these near the student area under the flyover and it does really well." Mark Woolley said the container park in York is 'packed day and night', and Mark Hetherington commented: "Hopefully a good live venue and will attract more bands to play in Sheffield."

But container parks outside of Sheffield are not universally popular, it would seem. Chris Howlett wrote: "Had one of these in Newcastle and another on the Gateshead side of the river. They're like shanty towns and although never permanent don't look that great even when newly set up. Over time they look shabby until they're eventually taken down."

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