Friday, June 13, 2014

News: Waverley masterplan updated

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Harworth Estates has submitted changes to its masterplan for the £100m Waverley development in Rotherham that would see fewer apartments and more houses built on the former Orgreave colliery site.

Approved in 2010, the largest, most complex, planning application ever considered by Rotherham Council gave outline approval for South Yorkshire's largest ever brownfield development, creating a new 3,890 home community across 741 acres. The development is also set to have a hotel and wide range of shops, cafés, health, leisure and educational facilities.

Now, developer and land owner, Harworth Estates, the company created to realise the property assets of what was UK Coal, has applied to vary a number of conditions of a follow up application, approved in 2013, to allow development to continue on the site.

Housebuilding began in 2012 on the first of four planned phases in character areas called Highfield Spring and Highfield Place, across from the expanding Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP). The new plans centre around the next character area, know as the Central Bastide, where approximately 600 dwellings will be built. This development would be located in the central part of the site, adjacent to Highfield Spring.

Harworth Estates has recently sold the second allocation of development land to Taylor Wimpey, Harron Homes and Barratt Homes for further house building. The 500th home at Waverley is expected to be built by the end of 2014.

The development that has come forward to date has been notably different to that which was expressed in the original masterplan and the opportunity has been taken to submit an application for a number of changes.
Amendments to the current outline planning permission are required to reflect the change in phasing as the majority of the Waverley Central area is now coming forward earlier than anticipated. Changes to the urban design framework of the site will also be made in preparation for a new detailed application for the next phase of housing.

One of the main changes is the proposed housing density in the central area, which is set to be reduced from 55 to 45 dwellings per hectare. The phase of housing currently under construction, mainly two to five bedroom new houses, is around 35 dwellings per hectare.

The plans state: "This amendment has been as a direct result of the significant changes in the economic climate and the planning policy framework that has occurred since the original application submission in 2008, as well as the desire to commence development at the earliest time on the site.

"During the economic downturn the Yorkshire and Humber housing market weakened. Housing starts sharply declined and the market for flats dropped such that many apartment led schemes across the area were mothballed or re-planned.

"The changes sought by this application will build on the success of Waverley New Community to date and ensure much needed future development can be delivered in a viable and sustainable manner that maintains the high quality design and place making of Waverley."

Amendments to housing density and phasing also mean that changes are proposed to the conditions imposed on the original application. 25 parts to the section 106 agreement were attached to ensure that the local area benefits from the development. These range from providing £11m for two primary schools and other financial contributions for new facilities such as playing pitches and a new link road.

Despite progress on site, building work has been at the rate of 120 dwellings per annum rather than the 200 dwellings per annum envisaged in the original plans. The latest changes to the plans put back trigger points for improvements to junctions and the road network.

Also included, is a reference to the delayed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme, the southern route of which plans to link Sheffield and Rotherham via a park and ride at Waverley. Harworth has agreed to put £1.5m towards the project and now it is proposing that if, after occupation of the 500th dwelling, the proposal to implement the BRT scheme is not committed then a scheme to enhance bus services in the area will be developed.

Interestingly, the updated masterplan makes no reference to HS2, where 1,000 proposed houses could be affected by the initial route published by HS2 Ltd which shows the high speed rail line passing through the northern part of the Waverley site that is earmarked for phases 3 and 4 of housing.

Waverley website

Images: Harworth Estates

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