Sheffield Council opens bidding for shipping containers from failed Fargate saga

Community groups can now apply to rehome Sheffield Council’s shipping containers used in the failed Fargate complex.

The eight shipping containers formed a pop-up hub with food stalls, shops and toilets in the city centre but closed only three months after opening following a series of blunders.

Councillor Terry Fox, then leader of the council, described the saga as “not our finest hour”.

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The final cost of the project was around £500,000, an increase of about £200,000 – this was funded by the Get Britain building fund which aimed to stimulate economic recovery following Covid-19 through “shovel ready” infrastructure projects.

Fargate shipping containersFargate shipping containers
Fargate shipping containers

The council has now opened applications for groups to take on the containers – of which there are two 30ft long blocks and six 40ft long blocks with a variety of modifications such as doors and windows as well as water and power inlets – for community uses.

Interested groups are asked to highlight how their proposal will meet the council’s objectives such as having fair, inclusive and empowered communities; tackling inequalities; supporting people through the cost of living crisis; and providing health and wellbeing for all.

Applications must be made by Sunday, September 10, then the strategy and resources committee will have the final say on how they will be used later this year.

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Council leader Tom Hunt said: “We’re committed to ensuring the containers find new homes in communities across Sheffield. If your organisation is interested in using a container then please get in touch. I’m looking forward to hearing about the proposals and to seeing the containers repurposed in new locations across the city.”

Applications can be made via the council here:

The council said it will not provide any funding to reuse the containers, including transporting them.

History of the Container Park

The vision of a hub made out of shipping containers at the top of Fargate divided Sheffielders from the start despite the success of box parks in other cities.

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Some saw it as a positive attempt to boost the high street and others could not trust the council to pull it off but even the critics did not predict how badly the project would go.

SteelYard Kelham, which officers said was the only company to step forward, was chosen to lead the project on behalf of the council.

In the year since news first broke of the plans, the project saw a sewage scare, delays after delays, disagreements, vendors pulling out, low footfall, and the bar never being completed, as costs and negative press mounted.

When it finally opened in October, it was at least four months late.

In January, councillors on the strategy and resources committee voted to kill the project completely and give the containers to community groups.