Convenience of a new bar at Sheffield Town Hall site

Drinks and food could soon be served in a novel location in Sheffield city centre.

Thursday, 8th December 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 12:36 pm
The Sheffield bar/restaurant firm Threads Management, led by James O'Hara, plans to turn the former gents toilets which closed years ago beside the Town Hall on Surrey Street into a new bar. Picture Scott Merrylees

The team behind venues including The Great Gatsby, on Division Street, and Picture House Social on Abbeydale Road, have applied to the council to change the use of the former men’s toilets next to the Town Hall on Surrey Street into a new bar.

There would be ‘deli-style food’ and drinks on offer, while the plans involve installing seating booths as well as keeping and restoring the original wall tiles, to reflect the site’s heritage.

James O’Hara, who is leading the plan, said: “It’s quite exciting what we want to do with it - it will be great.”

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But he emphasised that the idea was at an early stage. A name has been chosen, but is being kept under wraps.

“It’s obviously a council-owned building, so until we’ve got the planning permission we can’t even sign the lease,” James said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. Even if we get permission it will be a long time. Fingers crossed, if we do it, it will be next year.”

The public convenience was last used around three years ago. Accessed via two sets of steps, it is located under the pavement beside the Town Hall. The space is part of the structure of the hall, a Grade I listed building.

According to documents submitted as part of the application, a ‘substantial sum’ would be spent fitting out the bar, and the venue would ‘generate income for the council’.

A decision on whether to approve the change of use is expected as early as next month.

Almost all of Sheffield’s public toilets have closed in recent years to save money.