CADS team ‘shocked’ by surprise eviction from the Abbeydale Picture House

On arrival at the Abbeydale Picture House this morning the CADS team, who have run the venue since 2017, were devastated to find that they had been unexpectedly evicted following an ongoing dispute with the building’s landlord around repairs to the roof of the main auditorium.

The move came despite ongoing negotiations, disrupting the work of CADS and dealing a huge blow for the city’s cultural industries. Whilst the CADS team are still hopeful that an amicable settlement can be reached, the immediate closure of this beloved venue is set to have a huge impact on Sheffield with countless events affected at a time of fragility for the hospitality and nighttime economy.

CADS has invested tens of thousands of pounds, including Crowdfunding efforts, and many hours on the careful restoration of the building and any change in tenant puts the whole project at risk.

Picture House Social, the bar based in the lower section of the Abbeydale Picture House, remains open and is unaffected by the eviction of CADS.

The CADS team tell us they are still totally committed to the Abbeydale Picture House and are legally challenging the eviction which they believe is unjust. They are inviting the public to share their experiences of the venue and help them in their quest to save this incredible building.

Steve Rimmer, spokesperson for CADS, said: “Our goal for the Picture House was to restore this Grade II listed building to its former glory and ensure it was an asset to the Sheffield community. The vision for CADS has always been to breathe new life into Sheffield’s disused and dilapidated spaces. Although we’re incredibly pleased with all that has been achieved at the Picture House so far, there’s still huge amounts of work needed to make this building safe and usable for the future.’

“In December 2021, we commissioned a specialist report into the condition of the plaster vaulted ceiling in the auditorium. This report was conducted by a heritage specialist recommended by the Theatres Trust who have an extensive track record with working on historic plaster. This report found areas of the ceiling at risk of collapse due to water damage – and with potential danger to life of audience members – we immediately closed the auditorium to the public.”

“The report found ongoing water ingress that must be fixed before any plaster work could take place. We believe that the terms of our lease with the landlord show that he is responsible for maintaining the roof and despite initially promising to fix this in a period of good weather, the landlord then conducted his own inspection and decided that he would not be making those repairs. Following conversations with Environmental Health at Sheffield City Council it was understood that if events continue in the auditorium without specialist repairs to the ceiling, it would result in criminal liability and possible prosecution for any individual or organisation responsible.”

“This led to the closure of the main event space and a huge loss of income for CADS of ver £80,000 and counting, and although CADS had finance in place and a campaign ready to help fund repairs, fundamental work on the roof was still needed and this has become a bone of contention with the landlord.”

Since taking on the venue in 2017, CADS have invested huge amounts of time and money in readying the venue to grow as an event space and ultimately to be fully restored. They have raised just under £100k that has already been invested into the building, secured a venue license (pending renovation) and run countless events for many different Sheffield organisations and demographics. CADS has also provided affordable office and studio space to Sheffield start-ups and creatives who have also lost their spaces.

To share your memories, head over to Abbeydale Picture House’s socials. 

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