Wednesday, April 30, 2014

News: Westgate Chambers set for sell off

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The cabinet at Rotherham Council is set to sign off the sale of Westgate Chambers, the prominent buildings in Rotherham town centre.

Acquired in 2006, the major part of the complex is home to bars, nightclubs and takeaways with disused offices on the upper floors converted into artists studios and community arts space in 2011.

Located at the top of Corporation Street, the council made the strategic acquisition with a mix of funding from Yorkshire Forward (the Regional Development Agency) and Transform South Yorkshire (the housing market renewal (HMR) partnership for South Yorkshire).

A key part of the Rotherham Renaissance initiative to regenerate the town centre, the Westgate area and river corridor had been a focus for redevelopment, earmarked for housing together with retail and commercial uses.

Initial proposals for the refurbishment of Westgate Chambers aimed to deliver around 60 high-quality apartments with commercial units underneath.

Following the public spending review in 2010 and the closure of Yorkshire Forward in 2012, the main source of finance to deliver the Rotherham Renaissance programme was removed. Since then, a number of feasibility studies have taken place to identify how the redevelopment of Westgate Chambers can move forward and secure investment from other sources and the private sector.

7 and 9 Westgate are Grade 2 listed buildings (pictured). Known by many as the former Co-op buildings, they were originally constructed in 1794 by local architect, John Platt as a residence for himself.

A number of the commercial units are vacant along Westgate, Domine Lane and Main Street with the popular bar, Elliot's, closing earlier this year. A one year lease has recently been advertised by the council on the 3,000 sq ft property. At the end of 2013, rock bar, SNAFU opened in new premises alongside a new bar, Jaxx, in Westgate Chambers.

Now it appears that the council are selling off the site with a report on the proposed Westgate Chambers disposal being taken to the council's cabinet today.

Across town, demolition work has begun on the historic former Doncaster Gate Hospital. The council's cabinet confirmed the demolition in February and the cleared site is set to be offered back to the market in early spring 2014 with the council expecting sufficient interest to result in a redevelopment that would add to the regeneration of this edge of town centre site.

Images: Tom Austen

2 comments:

Anonymous,  May 1, 2014 at 1:42 PM  

Sad selling off of our historic buildings....never turns out well for the people that love Rotherham!

Tom,  May 6, 2014 at 10:22 AM  

The cabinet agreed the plans to put Westgate Chambers onto the market to "seek developer interest for a predominantly residential development."

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