Nightlife: Devonshire Cat pub to reopen despite concerns about students singing ‘raucously and badly’

The popular Devonshire Cat pub will reopen in Sheffield after closing two years ago due to the impact of Covid-19, despite objections from a city centre residents’ group.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 12:53 pm

The Devonshire Cat, at 49 Wellington Street, needed a new licence from Sheffield Council after its old one lapsed during closure.

It was granted by the council during a meeting today, allowing it to reopen from 10am until 3.30am, seven days a week, with live and recorded music, indoor sports and late night refreshments – as it did before.

During the meeting, Councillor David Barker said the granted licence is as requested but with the added condition that neighbouring residents are given a contact number in case any problems arise.

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The Devonshire Cat, Wellington Street, Sheffield.

It followed an objection from Changing Sheff, a campaign group for city centre residents, who raised concern about noise and nuisance from nightlife generally.

Peter Sephton spoke during the meeting on behalf of the group and proposed that all new licences in the city centre should be barred from opening later than midnight.

He said: “Licensed premises surrounded by residential accommodation should not be permitted to open until the middle of the night.

“If you have lived in the city centre you’ll know that a group of male students leaving a pub after a night out feel it’s necessary to sing loudly, badly and raucously but sound travels upwards and we can’t sleep through that at 3.30am.”

Peter Sephton of Changing Sheff

Devonshire Cat’s journey through Covid-19

When Abbeydale Brewery announced the closure of the Devonshire Cat it said: “With the underlying trend of a reduction in footfall over the past years it has become increasingly challenging to run the Devonshire Cat as a viable business. This is despite every effort made by our team to make it a warm and welcoming venue with a fantastic food and drink offering, and we’re hugely proud of what we were able to achieve in our little corner of Sheffield.

“It is, therefore, inevitable that the Covid-19 outbreak has had a devastating effect on the viability of this business. Unfortunately, the rateable value of our city centre venue was too high to benefit from the grants offered at this time. Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of the hospitality industry and the prospect of long term changes to social interaction, we have come to the decision that we are not in a position to re-open.”

It is not yet known who will operate the pub when it reopens.

Tim Shield, legal representative for the applicant Prime Land Limited, said there was interest from existing operators within the city with good track records, including a company operating in Kelham Island, but nothing had yet been set in stone.

In closing remarks he said: “This is going to be a good reinstatement to this area and the aim is to add something to the area for the residents nearby as it has done before and that is why we are making this application…It has no history of any issues whatsoever, there is no evidence of that.”