Thursday, July 31, 2014

News: Visions of China back on the agenda

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The cabinet at Rotherham Council is due to make a decision on the disposal of the Pithouse West site next week, the former colliery land where the council has harboured a long running desire to create a landmark leisure / tourism development.


In August 2011 the council confirmed leisure organisation China Vision Ltd and regeneration specialist MCD Developments as the preferred developers for the site, located to the north of Rother Valley Country Park. Also involved in the bid is Dr. Lee Kai Hung of Hong Kong's South West Eco Development Limited and who has projects in the UK and China and is a prominent member of the Chinese community in England's Northwest.

The site of the proposed £350m YES! Project was put up for sale by the Council after original developers, Oak Holdings made a material lack of progress since entering a preferred developer agreement in 2003.

In November 2012, council officers sought an urgent agreement from councillors to complete the sale agreements and head leases for 180 and 153 acres of former opencast land, which is classed as greenbelt.

Visions of China will be a £118m, 120 acre cultural theme park set in an authentically built and landscaped Chinese environment combining a range of experiences and activities for visitors.

It is set to include oriental lakes and gardens, China Town retail street, a Shaolin temple and cultural centre, a theatre, children's fantasy land, restaurants, an oriental spa, pavilions, a pagoda and a hotel.

It aims to attract 1.5m visitors to Rotherham each year and the developers believe that it will create 200 jobs during its two year construction and more than 380 permanent jobs once in operation.

The developers, led by Peter Moore OBE, who introduced the Centre Parcs concept to the UK, and Stephen Byrne, chief executive of Birmingham-based MCD Developments, said at the time that they had secured funding for the ambitious project but the funding agreement was conditional on securing the land.

The lease was set to be signed with MCD VOC LLP, a limited liability partnership with no trading history or assets and members based in the Isle of Man. It is one of a number of companies set up by the partners involved in the Visions of China project.

No details of the funding or any planning applications have been made public. Minutes show that members of Rotherham Council's planning board were set to receive a presentation about a forthcoming application for planning permission regarding Visions of China in March 2013.

The only public reference of the project since then was by the developers, MCD, during its exhibition at the global real estate event, MIPIM in 2013 - "Visions Of China, Rotherham – major new international visitor destination, comprising a 120 acre park, with 60 acres of residential. Incorporating 1.4 million sq ft of unique cultural theme park set in a totally authentic built and landscaped environment. It will be one of the most original and intriguing day visitor destinations to have been created in Britain for decades."

The latest report is exempt and will be heard in private as it contains commercially sensitive information. The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board, Cllr. Glyn Whelbourn has also agreed that the item is urgent and cannot reasonably be deferred. This means that the decision is not subject to the call-in procedure and cannot be called in for further scrutiny.

Images: via RiDO

1 comments:

Anonymous,  February 27, 2015 at 7:15 AM  

This will be graet for the area but can someone give better timelines for the startr

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