Wednesday, June 25, 2014

News: Rotherham heritage regeneration continues

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Building works being carried out on historic buildings on Rotherham's High Street are set to be completed in October.

Local businessman, Chris Hamby is creating a complex of mixed-used retail outlets focusing on listed buildings. The plan is backed by a £750,000 long term capital finance loan from Rotherham Council that has secured £677,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) for additional, much needed works.

The work is part of the £3m Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) scheme that sees property owners and long term lease holders secure grants enabling them to restore, renovate and repair their historic buildings which are all within a conservation area. The aim is to encourage new shops, apartments and businesses to locate in the town centre.

In December, an additional £140,000 was approved by the council, in the form of a long term capital finance loan to enable the refurbishment works to be completed at The Three Cranes building and former Georgian Town House at 29-29a High Street.

A recent update to the council's cabinet stated that the Three Cranes and 29-29a High Street are expected to be completed by October 2014. Work on these two projects involves significant structural repairs to the building fabric along with the reinstatement of architectural details.

Containing the remains of the Italian restaurant at 29A High Street (pictured before work began), the town house was once occupied by the Badger family, a notable family of solicitors and lawyers. A new Victorian shop frontage and Doric door will be installed with the upper floors converted into flats.

The former Three Cranes Inn, that occupied a timber framed building dating back to the 15th Century, is thought to be the oldest domestic building in the town and was probably built as a merchant's town house around 1600. The grade 2* listed building is the only timber framed building to survive in Rotherham town centre. It is on English Heritage's "at risk register" and has been in a state of disrepair for many years. The Three Cranes has had interest from a real ale pub for the property.

Also part of the scheme, the main construction works on the George Wright building are almost complete. With its unique facade, the building was famously occupied by George Wright & Company in the 1800's who designed and manufactured elaborate stoves and fireplaces. It was later used as a wine bar and restaurant and will house apartments when renovations are complete.

Also taking place on the High Street, renovation work at the RSPCA charity shop at 14a has been slower than anticipated due to a dispute with the original builder, however, this work is now being completed by a different contractor, with an expected August completion.

To accompany the work to property, a £417,000 scheme to improve the public realm and the street itself is underway. In total, the heritage programme is set to spend £1.352m in this financial year.
It's a different story across town where demolition crews are taking down the former Doncaster Gate Hospital (pictured). February saw Rotherham Council's cabinet sign off plans to demolish Rotherham's first purpose-built hospital, which is in its ownership, in a bid to save costs and attract a greater interest in the opportunities for development of the site.

Costing £100,000 a year to keep in its deteriorating state, the council budgeted £235,000 for demolition in 2013/14 and a further £115,000 is set to be spent knocking it down this financial year.

The cleared site is set to be offered back to the market with the council expecting sufficient interest to result in a redevelopment that would add to the regeneration of this edge of town centre site.

Hamby website

Images: Hamby's / Chrisfp on Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence.

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