Graves Park Sheffield: Council admits it did not act immediately to close Rose Garden Cafe when structural problems were discovered

Sheffield City Council has admitted that immediate action was not taken to close the Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park after a report showed worrying structural problems.
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Liz Hnat, chair of Save the Rose Garden Cafe, a group set up after the popular venue was closed, outlined several questions the campaign was trying to get a response to, which were published in a previous article.

Liz said that the council had the report on the structure of the building for four weeks and then the tenants got a call to say they had to be out in 15 minutes.

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A council spokesperson said: “Sheffield City Council officers attended the Rose Garden Café on June 20 as part of a feasibility study.

Campaigner Andy Kershaw's picture of a Save the Rose Garden Cafe meeting held in Graves Park, Sheffield following the closure of the building after structural issues were discovered. Sheffield City Council has admitted that it did not act immediately once the problems were found in a building surveyCampaigner Andy Kershaw's picture of a Save the Rose Garden Cafe meeting held in Graves Park, Sheffield following the closure of the building after structural issues were discovered. Sheffield City Council has admitted that it did not act immediately once the problems were found in a building survey
Campaigner Andy Kershaw's picture of a Save the Rose Garden Cafe meeting held in Graves Park, Sheffield following the closure of the building after structural issues were discovered. Sheffield City Council has admitted that it did not act immediately once the problems were found in a building survey

“This feasibility study was assessing possible improvements to the building. Following the visit, the officers raised concerns about the safety of the building based on what they saw.

“Typically, when concerns are raised they are escalated to senior officers the same day, however, this did not happen on this occasion.

“We will be reviewing this to establish the cause and introduce new procedures if necessary.

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“Instead, these concerns were escalated to senior officers on July 26. A meeting was arranged for the following day during which a decision was made to close the building with immediate effect to protect the staff working in the cafe and its visitors.

The Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park, Sheffield has closed after a report found the roof of the building to be unsafe. A campaign is calling for the building to be repairedThe Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park, Sheffield has closed after a report found the roof of the building to be unsafe. A campaign is calling for the building to be repaired
The Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park, Sheffield has closed after a report found the roof of the building to be unsafe. A campaign is calling for the building to be repaired

“A call was made to the operator of the cafe after the meeting and they were asked to close the cafe and vacate immediately.”

Liz said the locks have been changed which means the tenants can’t get in there to retrieve any stock or equipment.

Cafe income ‘doesn’t cover repair costs’

The council responded: “The locks to the building have been changed to prevent unauthorised access into the building in the interest of safety.

Campaigner Andy Kershaw's picture of a Save the Rose Garden Cafe meeting held in Graves Park, Sheffield following the closure of the building after structural issues were discovered. Sheffield City Council has admitted that it did not act immediately once the problems were found in a building surveyCampaigner Andy Kershaw's picture of a Save the Rose Garden Cafe meeting held in Graves Park, Sheffield following the closure of the building after structural issues were discovered. Sheffield City Council has admitted that it did not act immediately once the problems were found in a building survey
Campaigner Andy Kershaw's picture of a Save the Rose Garden Cafe meeting held in Graves Park, Sheffield following the closure of the building after structural issues were discovered. Sheffield City Council has admitted that it did not act immediately once the problems were found in a building survey
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“The council is considering the best way to retrieve the equipment without taking any unnecessary risks.”

Liz also said that Sheffield firm Brewkitchen, who run the cafe, will have to pay for any temporary refreshments set-up.

The council’s response was: “SCC is reviewing the commercial arrangements with the operator to consider what refreshments could be provided, how and at what cost.

“We have ongoing dialogue with the operator and met them today (Thursday, August 18) and further discussions are planned for next week.”

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Liz Hnat said that, although there is rent coming in from the cafe and money from the Graves Park charity trust that has been used to do work on the park, there has been no upkeep of the cafe building by the council.

The council responded: “The rent from the cafe has contributed to maintaining and managing the park.

“No significant refurbishment has taken place on the cafe building, however responsive repairs have been undertaken, such as repairs to the roof covering.

“As sole trustee, the council subsidises the running of the park. The income from the cafe doesn’t cover the repair costs.”

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The campaign, which is working alongside the Friends of Graves Park, is holding a meeting next Wednesday, August 24, and will meet council leader Coun Terry Fox the next day.