Sheffield City Council recommend historic Tap & Tankard pub should be demolished despite unique heritage

Sheffield City Council officers said councillors should approve plans to demolish a historic pub that was built to serve Sheffield makers.

Officers recommended conditional approval of plans to knock down the 1863 Grade II-listed building on 24-26 Cambridge Street - latterly the Tap & Tankard and Chubby’s takeaway - leaving only the facade.

A three-storey building will be built in its place and it will be a mixed use development including a cafe, restaurant, bar, retail and office space. The redeveloped site will be at the centre of the council’s Heart of the City 2 project.

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Historic Yorkshire pub that is 'the last of its kind' could be demolished
The Tap & Tankard

The council’s planning and highways committee was due to make a decision in a meeting on October 19 but this was postponed until November 9 due to staff leave and workloads.

In a report ahead of the meeting, officers said: “It is aimed at makers and independents which will be housed in a unique historic building and together these attractions will provide something special that is likely to be a significant city centre draw.

“Given the impact of the pandemic, increased working from home and the closure of John Lewis this is a particularly important project for the recovery of the city centre.

“In addition to these economic benefits the scheme itself will generate economic activity and employment.

“Together with Block H3 (another part of Heart of the City II) this project will help to reinvigorate a retail street which has been run down for a number of years.”

They added: “There will however be adverse heritage impacts due to the loss of most of the original non designated heritage asset itself which will also impact on the character of the conservation area and on the significance of the listed building.

“Whilst the loss of the existing pub is regrettable, a drinking establishment use will be retained in the building, and it will still be recognisable as a pub from the street.

“Both council officers and Historic England accept that the applicant has demonstrated that a modern pub with extended food provision could not be accommodated in the existing building without extensive remodelling so the facadism approach is justified in this case.

“There will be some loss of historic fabric of secondary importance in the listed building. However overall, the less than substantial harm to heritage assets is outweighed by the public benefits that will arise from the development as a whole.”

Historian Ron Clayton said the building, which used to be called the Sportsman’s Inn, should be preserved because of its long history and links to Leah’s Yard, the Grade II listed Little Mesters’ workshop it was built to serve.

He said: “The idea for Leah’s Yard itself is exciting: a return to small-scale artisans and traders representing the very best of what Sheffield can do. But this historic site is not just a good building - it has a great historic setting, too, which the council’s plans will largely erase, reducing it to just a facade.”

A decision will be made on Tuesday, November 9.