move the business forward securing Taylors Eye Witness's
future (including the livelihood of over 80 Sheffield families),
the company needs to relocate to a modern factory where they
are able to have a tight, well organised manufacturing unit,
secure warehousing facilities and modern offices.
The company is currently based in Eye Witness Works a partly
Victorian grade 2 listed factory complex situated close to Sheffield
city centre. The building is a warren of small areas making
effective use of staff functions difficult and the most effective
use of staff time impossible - it is no longer fit for purpose,
report). To survive the company needs to keep tight
control of overheads and operate as efficiently as possible,
in order to meet the competition from the Far East head on -
impossible in the current building.
The company needs to realise as much capital as possible from
the sale of Eye Witness works, so that it can relocate to a
new factory/office unit elsewhere in Sheffield. The company
needs the collateral of a property to secure a sufficient working
overdraft from the bank.
The planning process started in 2005 as follows:
1. Discussions with potential developers - it became apparent
that planning permission for the redevelopment of the site was
needed to generate sufficient cash from the sale to fund the
move. Initial meetings held with the Sheffield Planning Dept
who said that no grant funding was available for the site.
2. Wireframe Studios appointed to measure the building.
Plan Layout, Ground
3. Nov 2005 A report from Richard Eastwood of Eastwood
& Partners was received. Mr Eastwood is an acknowledged
expert on historic buildings. His report is here
along with the
appendices. Mr Eastwood`s conclusion was
"An initial appraisal leads to the simple conclusion
that the site is not retainable in its current form. It is not
currently capable of economic use delivering value able to pay
for long term upkeep. A radical approach may be necessary to
ensure preservation of important features, and this is likely
to lead to a solution in which only limited elements can be
4. Commissioned WPA Chartered Surveyors to review possible
development alternatives including Housing, Office
Space and Mixed Use. WPA concluded that a student
accommodation development was the only outcome likely to generate
sufficient cash to fund a new factory.
5. Summer 2006 Following a 'beauty contest' Bond
Bryan appointed as architects. Bond Bryan have much
experience in dealing with sensitive sites in Sheffield.
Spring 2007 Bond Bryan produce initial design studies
after which there followed a site visit from Sheffield Planning
Dept and English Heritage.
Listing on Eye Witness Works is up graded to 2*. Listing change
is challenged by Roger Wools & Partners
May 2007 Bond Bryan
plans are published and presented to the Sheffield
Conservation Advisory Group and the to Sheffield Planning
Discouraging response received from Sheffield`s Planning Department,
followed by a one-to-one meeting with the Head of Planning
who confirmed that no grant funding was available for the
June 2007 Review of listing change allowed by the Department
of Culture Media and Sport
July 2007 report received from Buildings Archaeologist
Colin Briden. Colin`s conclusion was "-the
decision to up grade appears hasty and ill-informed"
forwarded to the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
12. Oct 2008. Site is downgraded to Grade 2 listing.
This follows on from many hours of emailing and meetings and
an apology from Peter Beacham of English Heritage for the
unjust way that Taylors Eye Witness was treated.
course all the time this has gone on, the property market
has collapsed, the recession is in full swing and all funding
has dried up!
is welcome by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visits - We are sorry but Health and Safety regulations make
adhoc site visits impossible for the public however we are
planning some open days as part of Sheffield Galvanize festival
in Nov/Dec 2007.
aim to keep this record up to date as a resource for interested
parties. Correspondence will only be posted with the agreement
of both sender and recipient. We hope that agreement can soon
be reached to find a sustainable future use for Eye Witness
Works that meets the hopes and aspirations of all parties
and enables Taylors Eye Witness Limited to relocate to modern
efficient premises where it can help maintain Sheffield`s
long standing reputation of high quality cutting edges. Without
that agreement the Eye Witness Works will slowly decay, the
business has no chance of survival and livelihoods and unique
craftmen's skills will be lost. Energy, time and capital that
should be devoted to moving the business forward is being
lost in these negotiations. Indeed it is ironic that just
company is reaping the rewards of its investment in design
it is trapped in an unsustainable building. (Read
article from the Financial Times - 02-June-06
and article by Design
Perhaps more ironcally Trafalgar
Works, Taylors Eye Witness' former works, was compulsory purchased
by Sheffield City Council and was left to rot for the past
40 years. Were the planning system fair, a precedent would
have been set and the Eye Witness works site would be allowed
to be redeveloped.
For convenience all the documents
relating to the building and planning applications of the
Eye Witness Works are listed here for easy access.