Sheffield Decathlon sinkhole: firm issues update on repairs as concerns are raised about city's flood defences

Bosses at a Sheffield Decathlon store where a sinkhole appeared expect to compete repairs next year, they have said.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:31 pm
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:31 pm

The shop's car park on Eyre Street in the city centre, where a huge hole opened up in 2017, is one of several privately owned areas of flood defences in the city which Greenpeace has raised concerns about.

The sinkhole was caused by a collapsed culvert – an underground waterway – which went again in 2020.

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The sink hole that appeared at Decathlon, Sheffield, in the car park. Work is due to be completed on waterways beneath it next year.

Luke Fillingham, regional property manager at Decathlon UK, acknowledged the disturbance caused by the collapsed culvert under the car park.

Sports store car park

He said: “The area has a long and proud industrial heritage and the culvert was built long before the current building and car park. The patchwork nature of the structure has therefore complicated all efforts to repair the culvert, whilst the global pandemic also led to further difficulties. We have recently fully surveyed the culvert and plans are in place for further repairs in 2022.

“During this process we have always maintained open communication with Sheffield City Council and the Environment Agency, consulting the necessary parties whilst we work to improve the river channel. We’re pleased to say that the river channel has never been blocked and is now in better condition than when we originally purchased the land in December 2010 thanks to the work we have undertaken.

“We’re encouraged by the recent survey and hope to fix all remaining issues with the culvert in 2022, once the best solution has been agreed between all parties. Later in 2022 the store is also due to be refurbished with a new entrance and full resurfacing of the car park.”

Cordoned off for safety

He wanted to re-affirm commitment to the safety of staff, customers and residents, and added the culvert and river had been constantly monitored since the initial collapse. Areas of the car park were cordoned off to ensure safety.

He said Decathlon had committed considerable time and resources managing the culvert under the car park, keeping open communication with the Environment Agency and Sheffield Council.

The culvert roof initially collapsed in January 2017, due to a problem dating back to before Decathlon bought the site. The firm immediately closed off the area, ensuring the river channel was never blocked. Repairs were made in consultation with the council and the Environment Agency, and Decathlon believed the issue was fixed.

Other changes were made to the river to improve water flow and encourage the growth of flora and fauna, at considerable expense, said Mr Fillingham.

He added: “The heavy storms in February 2020 combined with other construction defects then resulted in the collapse of part of the culvert wall. Again we responded by repairing the culvert wall and stabilising the culvert roof. The culvert is now safe and we are continuing to monitor this situation.

Concerns over condition of other private flood defences in Sheffield

It is one of several privately owned flood defences Greenpeace highlighted in a recent report, saying it was concerned about their condition on the basis of Environment Agency assessments rating them four or five, where one is the top score.

Others are at Sheaf Street, near the railway station; Cart Road, Chapeltown; Mary Street, Highfield; Balfour Drive, Darnall; Bocking Close, near Chancet Wood; Valley Centertainment, Broughton Lane, Carbrook; Blackburn Road, near Tinsley Viaduct; Athol Road, Woodseats; Mowbray Street, Neepsend.

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