Thursday, August 8, 2013

News: Developer has say on Guest & Chrimes

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Peter Gadsby, a successful property developer and former chairman of Derby County, has given his assessment on the potential redevelopment of the Guest & Chrimes building on the edge of Rotherham town centre.

Empty since 1999, the Grade II listed buildings of the former iron and brass foundry sit between Rotherham United's £20m New York Stadium and the council's new offices on Main Street.

This month, the football club amended a planning application for the full demolition of the former foundry, citing a lack of interest in developing the previous scheme of partial demolition and rising costs of remedial work.

Peter Gadsby worked as a consultant on the stadium project, working closely with Tony Stewart, Rotherham United chairman and owner of successful Rotherham business, ASD Lighting.

In a letter submitted to the club's property agents, Burgess Commercial and the planning authority, Gadsby stated that "considerable benefit could arise to the stadium and its environs by the removal of the Guest & Chrimes building and its replacement with a mixed use commercial development that would be both tailored to market interests and of a scale and form that would significantly enhance the setting of the stadium and the council offices."

Consultants, Gleeds, estimate that it would take an investment of £8.8m just to bring the current property up to a marketable condition and it is not considered a realistic proposition that a developer will come forward in the medium term to refurbish and convert even a residual part of the factory complex.

Gadsby added: "In what remain economically challenging times it would not be possible to carry out any development of Guest & Chrimes without a committed "end user" in place unless there was a major element of grant funding.

"The sheer cost and risk of progressing with a major refurbishment of the building would not be carried out by any soundly based development company."

Full demolition would rule out a potential scheme like the one pictured above, put forward by award-winning architects, Maber at the beginning of the stadium design process. A potential development is likely to have the footprint shown below.


Peter Gadsby is a leading figure in the Midlands property industry having built up the Birch Group Plc before selling to the UK's largest private property company, The Miller Group in a transaction valued at £35m in 2000.

Through his Ark Capital Group he has grown a number of property companies including Cedar House Investments which has developed property on Derby's Pride Park as well as other successful mixed use, office, industrial and retail developments.

One project that recently secured planning permission is "Park Plaza" in Derby, set to create a hotel, restaurants, cafes and retail units next to Pride Park football stadium. Gadsby added: "We are not suggesting that exactly the same mix would be appropriate for the Guest & Chrimes site but there is an opportunity for development without the building in place whereas currently there is none."

Representations have been submitted to the planning authority indicating a divide in opinion with some wanting to see the buildings preserved and others wanting to see them make way for new development.

Cedar House Investments website

Images: Maber

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