Plans for huge shipping container complex with big screen on Sheffield's Fargate faces problem over flooding fears

Sheffield Council’s shipping container attraction has been delayed over concerns by Yorkshire Water that it could cause problems for one of the city’s biggest sewers.

The £446,000 attraction featuring food vendors, shops, toilets, living walls, outdoor seating and a big screen was due to open at the top of Fargate near the Town Hall last weekend ahead of Sheffield hosting the women’s Euros.

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However, Yorkshire Water – which has only just learnt of the plans – said it was too dangerous.

Sheffield Council’s shipping container attraction has been delayed over concerns by Yorkshire Water that it could cause problems in one of the city’s biggest sewers.

A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: “We were not consulted during the planning process of the Fargate shipping containers, but very recently learnt of the project.

“Our primary concern is that the structure would sit on top of one of the largest sewers in the city and block essential access to it. We need round the clock access to our sewers in case we need to remove a blockage or if there was significant flooding in the city.

“The weight of the structure could also pose a risk to the structure of the sewer network. We’re working closely with Sheffield Council and hope to come to an agreed solution.”

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, co-chair of the transport, regeneration and climate policy committee at the council, said the authority had now submitted alternative plans to Yorkshire Water that allow access to the main sewer and he hopes any issues can be rectified as soon as possible so the development can go ahead.

Artists' impression of the shipping container development planned by Sheffield Council for the top of Fargate outside the Town Hall.

He said: “We are aware of concerns raised by Yorkshire Water regarding the installation of the Fargate containers.

“We are discussing options with Yorkshire Water for moving forward as planned with the construction. As this is a temporary structure Yorkshire Water are not a statutory consultee therefore concerns have only been raised at this late point.”

What were the plans?

The hub was designed by Steel Yard, a Sheffield-based company specialising in shipping container architecture with a large base in Kelham Island.

The initial budget was £300,000 but this increased to £446,000. It will be paid for by central government grants via the Get Britain Building fund which was secured by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

Preparation work can be seen at the site already but the structure has not yet been placed there.

Council officers said schemes like this were needed to help draw people back to the city centre because Fargate and the High Street account for one tenth of retail space – with 103 retail and leisure units – but they are unsustainable in their current form.

Who is taking on the units

All of the businesses taking on a unit of the hub are local independents.

Four out of six have been publicly confirmed so far – these are: Get Wurst (German street food), Yoki (Korean street food), Re-Owned (pre-owned clothing store) and Urban Pizza Co (pizzas).