The search is on for an operator after councillors approve new events centre in Sheffield

Plans for a new events space have been approved as part of a £15.8m revamp of a city centre shopping precinct.

Event Central is a regeneration project commissioned by Sheffield City Council and funded through the Future High Streets Fund, which will see the existing vacant building at 20-26 on Fargate refurbished.

Formally used as a ground floor retail space, the project will open up all five floors and the basement to create a community and commercial space to showcase events, shows, exhibitions, workshops and talks under one roof. It will also include co-working spaces, a café and a 200-capacity standing music venue.

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Coun Mazher Iqbal, co-chairman of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee, said: “The approval of the Event Central planning application is another exciting step in creating this vibrant and cultural space for the people of Sheffield.

Plans for a new city centre event hub at 20-26 Fargate in Sheffield’s city centre have been approved.Plans for a new city centre event hub at 20-26 Fargate in Sheffield’s city centre have been approved.
Plans for a new city centre event hub at 20-26 Fargate in Sheffield’s city centre have been approved.

"We know how much talent there is within our city and we are confident Event Central will be the perfect place to showcase it, attracting thousands of visitors each year. This transformation will be a crucial part of our vision for Fargate and the whole city centre - unlocking all the potential Sheffield has to offer.”

Designed by HLM Architects, the new plans aim to bring the once-vibrant destination back to life, along with the lost grandeur of the original 1800s building.

Jamie Wilson, hospitality, leisure and culture sponsor at HLM, said: "Reimagining 20-26 Fargate as a new community and events space that will sit at the heart of this has been a hugely rewarding exercise.

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"Event Central will act as an anchor destination for businesses, tourism, and the local community, providing a range of facilities and resources that support the city centre and make it an exciting destination for everyone to enjoy.”

Internally, the building will feature mid-century style finishes and colour palettes, complementing the era of the retained façade.

Sheffield artwork will feature throughout the building, anchoring its identity as a local destination worth visiting independently of its other uses.

Sheffield City Council successfully bid for £15.8m in funding from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund in 2021 and the funding requires plans to be delivered by March 2024.

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The council is currently seeking an operator to develop and manage Event Central, as well as taking a lead on the regeneration of the wider Fargate area.

Work on site will commence in spring 2023, with full completion expected in February 2024.

As part of the wider Future High Streets Fund project, pocket parks will be introduced through Fargate, using the design skills and knowledge gained through the Grey to Green scheme.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, director of city and culture at the University of Sheffield and member of Sheffield’s Future High Street Fund Stakeholder Panel, said: "Delighted to hear we are another step closer to providing this vital event space for the wonderfully creative artists of the city to showcase their talents.

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"The University of Sheffield has worked with multiple stakeholders and partners on behalf of the Council to ensure that this prominent central space has the potential to benefit both the vibrancy of the city itself as well as the vibrancy of the cultural sector."​​​​​​​