Friday, May 2, 2014

News: Nando's set to open in Rotherham

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Leading restaurant chain, Nando's is planning to open a new restaurant in Rotherham.

Favoured by the likes of David Beckham, Beyoncé and students, the popular chain's specialisation is flame-grilled peri-peri chicken. With aims to open at 25 new sites every year, each employing around 30 staff, a planning application has now been submitted for a new outlet at Parkgate Shopping.

Owned by Hercules Unit Trust, which is advised by British Land and managed by Schroders, Parkgate Shopping is one of the largest retail parks in the UK, home to over 40 shops and attracting around 150,000 visitors a week. It is valued at over £100m to the trust via a subsidiary, the Rotherham Unit Trust.

Founded in South Africa in 1987, Nando's operates a casual dining restaurant group with 1,000 outlets. The first UK restaurant opened in 1992 and there are now over 280 restaurants in the UK. The UK arm of Nando's says that it serves half a million chickens a week. Owned by Capricorn Ventures International, latest sales figures are a reported £485m and profits in 2013 rose to £58.5m. Current local restaurants are in Sheffield, with one planned for Doncaster Leisure Park.

The latest plans, drawn up by Archial Norr and Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners, would involve the demolition of the current Pizza Hut restaurant to be replaced by a new building to include a 372 sq m, 128 cover Nando's and a 93 sq m Subway. The new building would also include a cash machine and new toilet facilities.
The park owners, potential operators and visitors have all shown an interest in an improved food and drink offer at Parkgate. A 377 sq m Frankie & Benny's restaurant opened in 2012 to complement to the existing instore cafés and fast food outlets. Britain's number one seller of sandwiches, Subway, opened an outlet at Parkgate in 2008 but it didn't last long.

The new application will need to be approved by the council's planning department who are guided by national planning policies designed to protect town centres and focus retail and leisure uses there. The application states that, as the proposal is "a very modest uplift" in floorspace of just 250 sq m, it will have no material impact on the restaurant sector within the town centre and no noticeable impact on the vitality and viability of the centre as a whole.

Sequential tests ensure that development is located in the most sustainable location first (usually in town centres), before other, less sustainable locations are chosen. In this case, the applicants have discounted a number of sites in the town centre including the Old Market and Keppel Wharf buildings.

The applicants also make reference to the recent approval for an out of town retail development at Great Eastern Way and the £30m extension to Cortonwood that was approved on appeal last year.

In 2011, Rotherham planners recommended that the Frankie & Benny's proposal at Parkgate be refused believing that it would be a destination in its own right and would divert trade, investment and expenditure away from Rotherham town centre. It also concluded that there were preferable sites for a restaurant in the town centre.

However, the application was resubmitted including an agreement for a £130,000 contribution to be used by the council on a range of initiatives to improve the vitality and viability of Rotherham town centre.

Planning permission for the development was granted, without being taken to the planning board, in February 2012.

Nando's website
Parkgate Shopping website

Images: Nando's / Archial Norr

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