Friday, April 16, 2021

News: Free weekend parking across Rotherham town centre

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Rotherham Council has extended free weekend parking across the town centre to support residents and businesses as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

As businesses including salons, pubs, cafes and non-essential retailers re-open for the first time in months, the Council has permanently removed Saturday charges at all twelve of its off-street car parks in central Rotherham.

Parking is free for two hours in the "red zone" in Drummond Street car park and all council parking is already free on Sundays (except Wellgate multi-storey, which opens Monday to Saturday only).

Simon Moss, Assistant Director for Planning, Regeneration and Transport at Rotherham Council, said: “COVID-19 restrictions have led to financial difficulties for many of our residents and businesses, and this is a practical way we can help them as restrictions ease and people find ways to go about daily life safely.

“With capacity limited on public transport, we suggest people coming into town walk or cycle if possible to reduce pollution and stay healthy, as well as save money. But we recognise some people will need to drive to use town centre facilities, and we don’t want parking costs to be an obstacle.”

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This week’s easing of restrictions will see Rotherham’s outdoor and indoor markets re-opening fully and returning shoppers will see a range of COVID-19 safety measures in place including one-way systems, signs and pavement markings to aid social distancing, and hand sanitising stations.

Those coming back to the town centre will also see a revamped Bridgegate, with new lighting, paving and colourful planters, as well as work underway on College Street to provide new landscaping, seating and on-street pay and display parking.

While many will be keen to make the most of the easing restrictions, the Council is reminding residents to continue to stick to social distancing guidelines as the COVID-19 infection rate in Rotherham is still at more than twice the national average.

People are encouraged to follow the hands, face, space and fresh air guidance, as well as making use of the regular lateral flow testing available through workplaces, schools and community test sites. Residents are also reminded that if they test positive, they must stay at home and self-isolate.

Rotherham Council’s Director of Public Health, Ben Anderson, said: “There is a lot of excitement now the lockdown restrictions are easing and it’s great to see the people coming back to the town centre. However there is a very real risk of a further wave of infection in Rotherham so it’s vital we all continue to social distance and follow all the COVID safety guidelines to avoid any need for restrictions to be re-introduced.

“Please, if you are going shopping, visiting the hairdressers or meeting family and friends outside at a café or pub, keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and wear a face covering when required. We must all do everything we can to keep Rotherham open.”

Images: Google Maps

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News: Funding boost for Rotherham Theatres but reopening delayed

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Rotherham Theatres has secured a further £55,272 but any is reopening is unlikely to until the Autumn 2021.

Rotherham Civic Theatre has not traded since March 2020 due to Covid restrictions and was hoping to reopen in the Spring.

Social distancing rules effectively meant that the auditorium could only accommodate 10% of its usual capacity, so reopening would not be viable and would not offer the quality of experience usually experienced by audiences.

Instead, operators, Rotherham Council took the difficult decision to close the facility for the entire financial year.

The closure, and loss of associated income, has led to a £453k pressure on Council budgets, but funding has been secured from the Government's £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. £55,272 from the second round adds to the £131,644 secured from the first round of the Arts Council England administered fund.

The Council is now set to carry out a refurbishment of the front of house and bar areas at the Civic.

The theatre accommodates a range of touring and local musical, comedy and theatrical performances. The building on Catherine Street in the town centre is a converted church and was purchased by the Council prior to being converted into a theatre in 1960.

£540,000 was allocated by the authority in 2012 to carry out much-needed repairs and refurbishment of both the interior and exterior of the building. The works were expected to bring the theatre up to a condition which would give a further ten years life.

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An update to councillors said: "Rotherham Civic Theatre has not traded since March 2020 due to the restrictions applied to performing arts venues. During this time the service has hosted a number of online programmes including a monthly comedy club in partnership with ten other venues across the country and a social media pantomime which spanned well known landmarks and venues across the borough.

"In October 2020 the theatre secured £131,644 from the Arts Council England administered Culture Recovery Fund. The funding has enabled the service to retain its core staff team, invest in research & development and CPD [Continuing Professional Development] for the team to create new delivery models with a greater focus on outreach, engagement and learning.

"The theatre is not expected to open until Autumn 2021 as current government regulation has not allowed for companies to rehearse and strict guidance relating to performance venues remains in place. Over the next seven months there will be a programme of refurbishment for the front of house areas in the theatre ensuring that the venue offers a high-quality welcome to residents when restrictions are lifted."

The Council budget has also promised a price freeze at the theatre to encourage return of custom following Covid forced closure.

The Visitors’ Centre within the Makers' Emporium on the High Street has also remained closed for much of the pandemic and will reopen alongside government guidelines in Spring/Summer 2021. The Council said that: "Its location and offer are not focussed on tourism and the relocation of the box office back to the theatre will diminish footfall. A review will be undertaken in 2021 to consider alternative proposals, including an online alternative and ultimately a presence at the new library complex."

A new library is planned alongside a revamped markets.

Rotherham Theatres website

Images: Google Maps

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

News: Rotherham development plots sold to joint venture - Catalyst coming

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Development sites with the potential to create around 1,000 jobs in Rotherham have been sold to a joint venture between Premcor Estates and Peveril Securities.

Plans were approved in 2019 to enable the successful Sheffield Business Park to expand into Rotherham. "Phase 4" is planned for a 17.9-acre site that was previously kept in the greenbelt when Sheffield City Airport was in operation.

Premcor, a private UK based property development company, has joined with Peveril Securities, a wholly owned investment and development division of Bowmer and Kirkland, on its first ever South Yorkshire site.

Land between Europa Link and the Parkway is set to be transformed to create a prominent business gateway to the Sheffield city region's wider Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), with the proposals including building footprints ranging from 10,764 sq ft to 107,649 sq ft of B1b (research and development), B1c (industrial process), B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage and distribution) facilities.

Following the deal, for an undisclosed sum, the project has been renamed "Catalyst" and will be developed as a mixture of industrial and logistics units totalling 285,000 sq ft in a landscaped parkland setting. Designs are being submitted with construction work scheduled to commence in the third quarter 2021.

Graham Sadler, managing director at Sheffield Business Park, said: "Phase 4 is one of the last remaining development opportunities on the park which is well placed to serve occupier demand and help drive forward Sheffield City Region’s economic growth.

"We have an excellent working relationship with the commercial property team at Keebles and have utilised their high-quality real estate team for a number of years."

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Rebecca Schofield, partner and head of the Yorkshire industrial team at Knight Frank, acted for Sheffield Business Park, and are retained agents with BNP Paribas on the scheme.

Rebecca said: "This site represents the last remaining plot of this size at Sheffield Business Park, easily accessible from Sheffield Parkway with convenient links to the north and south from the M1.

"The site and its development potential will address strong demand for industrial accommodation across the region as well occupiers looking to be close to the Advanced Manufacturing Park."

Led by Keebles’ Partner Richard Smith, the firm’s commercial property team acted as legal advisors to Sheffield Business Park. Richard said: "We were delighted to advise on the sale of Phase 4, which is in a prime position fronting Sheffield Parkway and close to the M1.

"It is always rewarding to advise on a deal which will bring further development opportunities to Sheffield, with some high-profile names having been based in the area for some time now."

Images: Premcor

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News: World's largest titanium casting made in Rotherham

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Part of an industrial pump destined for Japan is thought to be the largest titanium casting ever poured into a ceramic shell, and it was made here in Rotherham.

Castings Technology International Ltd (Cti) is a world-leading provider of manufacturing, technology, expertise and services to the cast metals sector and global supply chain.

The company, which is based on the Advanced Manufacturing park (AMP), has casting capabilities in almost any type of metal alloy and has a 1,200kg titanium vacuum melting capability, which ranks it as one of the largest in the world. In conjunction with customers' design teams, CTI is casting complex components supplied into the aerospace, defence, chemical nuclear and marine markets.

Cti has recently produced the largest single component ever cast by the company in commercially pure titanium and it is probably the largest titanium part poured into a ceramic mould.

With an envelope of 1,000mm square by 600mm high and requiring over 1.2 tonnes of metal to be melted, the casting showcases several novel casting techniques developed in-house at Cti; the heart of cast metal innovation.

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This casting was part of an order from a Japanese OEM and will be used by their client in an industrial pump that handles highly corrosive media at elevated temperatures.

Titanium casting production is complex and requires expertise not only in metallurgy, but advanced foundry methodology.

Involved in the production of this titanium casting were George Appleby who joined CTi as an apprentice in 2018 and his training and development has led to him running the one of the largest ceramic shelling rooms in the world. Vilma Klimaviciene whose first role in engineering also started with CTi in 2018 works in the Titanium Finishing department.

Cti recently underwent a £2m fundraising and a management buyout (MBO) from the University of Sheffield.

Cti website

Images: Cti

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

News: Westgate Chambers work continues

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The largest private-led regeneration project currently ongoing in Rotherham town centre is coming into view.

Renovation plans for Westgate Chambers were approved in 2018. A £10m scheme designed by Sheffield-based Self Architects involves the creation of a showcase commercial, retail and residential development that involves renovating the buildings that surround a landscaped internal courtyard, including a superb Georgian Grade II listed building, one of the oldest surviving historic structures in Rotherham town centre.

The buildings, close to the important regeneration site of Forge Island, were bought by the Council in 2006 but the authority's own redevelopment efforts were hit by the economic downturn and a removal of Government funding. Having sold the properties, the current scheme, by Peter Hill of developers HMP Bespoke Construction Ltd, is providing high quality retail, leisure and commercial space at street level with contemporary apartments above.

The development site originally contained six buildings which surrounded an enclosed service yard. Three buildings fronting Main Street, and the fourth listed building, has frontages onto Main Street and Westgate. Two buildings in a dilapidated condition fronting Domine Lane have been demolished.

The renovation part of the development involves the renovation, repair, and reorganisation of four existing buildings with an individual character. The New York View Apartments comprises of 29 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, many benefiting from their own private outside space.

On the first building (previously home to Planet and a taxi rank) new sympathetically designed shopfronts and a new entrance foyer now front Main Street. At the rear, the previously awkward roof geometry has be updated with simple pitched and flat roofs behind a new parapet. The old patchwork of brickwork to the southern elevation has gained a crisp render finish, inset with new windows in a contemporary dark grey.

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Parisian-style attic accommodation in the roof space of the next building (Body-Tec) has created penthouse flats with roof terraces hidden from street level by the existing parapet wall, giving valuable outside space (pictured, below).

Work continues on the "Westgate Centre" building on Main Street where a third floor is being created with the use of dormer windows.

On Domine Lane, work is underway on the new building that will create Westgate City View Apartments. The development "brings high-quality contemporary architecture, which will lift the street scene and continue the recent contemporary development" at the adjacent Old Market building.

Finally, on the corner of Main Street and Westgate stands the remains of a handsome Grade 2 Listed Georgian building, originally a fine residence built-in 1794 by the architect John Platt and occupied by him until his death in 1810.

Self Architects, who have submitted updated plans for the development, said: "We propose to reinstate that handsome Georgian façade by fitting appropriate 9 and 12-panel double glazed timber sash windows to the Main Street and Westgate facades and renew the shopfronts in a style complementary to the building."

New cladding, brickwork and a replacement roof are part of the plans. The red brick stairwell serving the back of the listed building, will be reinvented to form an attractive secure entrance foyer and stairwell. Some internal changes are being proposed.

The plans conclude: "The result of the proposed renovations would reinstate the buildings own identity as a handsome Georgian building, when viewed from Main Street and Westgate, and provide high-quality residential apartments with their own outside space, overlooking the courtyard.

"A new sympathetically designed roof will ensure the structural integrity for many years to come."

Images: Atollie Property Management

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