Thursday, August 28, 2014

News: Council set to acquire Forge Island

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Rotherham Council looks set to buy Forge Island, raising hopes of a long-awaited cinema in Rotherham town centre and the potential for 200 new jobs.

In 2012, the council's cabinet confirmed Forge Island as the preferred site for a town centre cinema and theatre development. The council has an option to buy the site for £1.5m when Tesco vacate and move across town to the site of former council buildings on Drummond Street.

A report on the key decision is being prepared by officers and was due to be taken to the council's cabinet next month to discuss the site of the current Tesco store as a strategic acquisition.

To be discussed in private, the report will outline the site's "short term use to support the town centre and its future redevelopment."

Council officers have held informal discussions with interested developers who have plans for potential regeneration projects anchored by a cinema with restaurants, retail, residential, other leisure uses and car parking. An "Investors Day" was planned to take place to proactively promote the site for redevelopment and an outline planning application was expected to be submitted by Rotherham Council for the creation of a 25,000 sq ft cinema complex.

Rothbiz understands that proposals under discussion for Forge Island include a mixed used development including 25,000 sq ft cinema and a 20,000 sq ft theatre and 10,000 sq ft of High Street style retail, 10,000 sq ft restaurant / café use and a 80 bed budget hotel. Such a development could create 200 jobs.

Last week saw plans announced for a nine screen cinema and six new high quality restaurants at the Alhambra Shopping Centre in nearby Barnsley as part of a multi-million pound investment by landlords F & C Reit. In Sheffield, operator, The Light has plans to open a nine screen cinema as part of the redevelopment of The Moor. Both are set to open in 2016.
The new £40m, 110,000 sq ft Tesco Extra store across Rotherham town centre is on schedule to open in November. TCN UK Ltd bought the site from Rotherham Council for £7.3m as the council invested in new premises on the former Guest & Chrimes foundry site.

The development is set to create 450 jobs (200 full time and 250 part time). 200 of these are additional to the current store on Forge Island and all staff at the current store would be guaranteed a job at the new site. A proportion of vacancies will be filled through Tesco's "Regeneration Partnership" which, in partnership with the local Job Centre Plus, ensures a proportion of vacancies are reserved for long term unemployed people.

Work on £4m worth of public realm improvements and massive revisions to road and utilities infrastructure are largely complete with the store fit-out underway.

Images: Tom Austen

5 comments:

Tom,  August 28, 2014 at 1:02 PM  

I'm guessing the short term use will be for car parking. Only a guess though...

Anonymous,  September 1, 2014 at 9:19 AM  

Planning notice has been applied for temporary parking at forge island 1st hour free then £1 for 2hours ! See advertiser .

Tom,  September 1, 2014 at 1:25 PM  

Good spot Anonymous. I'm glad someone still reads the notices in the paper!

Anonymous,  September 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM  

Yes I do sometimes ( sad I know) I also read your blog/threads on M.M -very informative well done !

Tom,  September 2, 2014 at 12:16 PM  

Cheers. I dug out the notice thanks to your tip off and put together a story around it today:

Council's car park plan for Forge Island

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