Skip to the content

Market Tavern independent investigation concludes

The Market Tavern building

An independent investigation into the demolition of the Market Tavern building has concluded.  

In early February the Council shared an update regarding the events leading to the demolition of the building.

This update included new information which indicated the top turret of the building, previously believed to have collapsed under its own weight, had in fact fallen because of recommenced demolition works.  

As a result, the Council launched an independent investigation into this matter. A summary report of this investigation is now available to view online. 

The investigation identified unintentional errors in communication took place within the Council, with the contractor and with interested stakeholders.  

As a result, there were different understandings within the Council about the recommencement of demolition and subsequent communications with external organisations, stakeholders and the media included incorrect information.   

The investigation outlined ‘there was no evidence which suggests that there was a deliberate cover up of the facts by anyone’. 

However, the independent investigation recommended several changes the Council could implement or build on as part of the learning from this incident. These include:  

  • Explore ways to ensure emails have oversight from all key parties as opposed to certain recipients. 
  • Agree clear reporting/communication/authority structures from the outset of any future projects.  
  • Include heritage groups at the earliest stage in relation to projects that involve any council assets that may have cultural/historical importance to the local community.  
  • Consider developing and adopting a Council-wide Heritage Strategy with an associated board/specific Heritage Officer to provide an effective governance structure  

No formal action is to be taken in respect to any of the key individuals subject to the allegations.  

The investigation was satisfied that ‘from a professional standpoint there was nothing else that could have been done to have saved the building’ and ‘demolition was the only way forward’.  

In February the Council approved a new Heritage Strategy for Sheffield. This came after the Council recognised it needed to strengthen its approach to heritage.  

Funding for a new Heritage Officer for the Council will also be sought. Their role will be to track heritage activity across the organisation, support the delivery of the new Strategy and promote its importance in future plans and policies for the city. 

The Regeneration team is also reviewing its email management system to ensure strengthened coordination of project information and reporting structures.  

Cllr Ben Miskell, Chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee, said:  

“It is clear from the independent investigation that unintentional errors in communication led to incorrect information being shared with a range of stakeholders and I am disappointed that this took place. The organisation must now learn from this and we are already taking action to make sure we do. 

“It is really important to us that people get the information that they need from us, and I wish to reiterate our apology to those affected. ” 

The internal report by the Director of ICT and Digital Innovation and the full report by the Barrow and Parker independent investigator into this matter were commissioned through an internal Human Resources procedure and are confidential. These will not be shared publicly, as is customary and in line with the Council’s obligations as an employer on internal HR matters relating to individual members of staff.