Tuesday, October 14, 2014

News: New plan outlines Todwick North development

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Thousands of jobs could be created at an agricultural site at the new Todwick roundabout in Rotherham after it was earmarked for a high quality business park in the latest plans for the borough's future employment land.

Consultation has begun on the final draft of the borough's Sites and Policies document as the council finalises its local plan. A total of 42 proposed development sites have been identified through reviews and surveys with 261 hectares of land identified, compared to the target of 235 hectares in the recently adopted Core Strategy.

A 30 hectare site at Todwick is the major new site being put forward since the borough's employment land was last examined. Land for employment is set to be located in areas of the borough that are already thriving business locations and where regeneration continues to take place - the town centre, Dinnington, Waverley, the Dearne Valley.

The previously discussed new area at Bassingthorpe Farm, the area close to Rotherham town centre which includes greenbelt land, has been designated as a Strategic Allocation and the main location for new housing, employment and retail growth. 2,400 dwellings would be joined by 11 hectares for employment use.

A recent scrutiny review by borough councillors into how the council can support the local economy identified that land supply is a key issue. It wanted officers to identify where "the next Dearne Valley" was going to be and stated that only 12% of the sites identified for employment land in the local plan are deliverable. The latest plans add: "Alternative sites with the capacity for the development that Manvers had in the previous growth cycle are exclusively in the greenbelt. Rotherham will need to release a significant site(s) from the greenbelt and facilitate major development to take place."

Currently in the greenbelt, the agricultural land at Todwick is being put forward for new offices and new commercial floorspace in the general industrial planning class, as well as the potential for some storage and distribution uses. It is hoped it will "attract major inward investment by accommodating one or more large users or through the development of smaller plots which comprise a high quality business park."

At nearly 30 hectares, the site is directly north east of the new roundabout and bordered by Todwick Road and the A57, up to Anston Brook and Cramfit Brook. It could be available for development in years 11-15 of the plan period.

The site benefits from the £14.7m improvement scheme to the A57, the council scheme that has seen a 1.5 mile section of the A57 turned into a dual carriageway from the Todwick crossroads to Junction 31 of the M1 motorway. The work also includes replacing the crossroads with a roundabout.

The potential at Todwick can be compared to the regeneration of nearby Dinnington, which continues as plans are being developed for the next phase at the former Dinnington Colliery site. Here 36 hectares are to be developed in total with early estimates suggesting that this would create over 2,000 jobs.

However, development of a larger site for a mix of developments to the west of Dinnington are not being progressed in the latest draft as impact assessments showed that it "offered no real regeneration potential given the lack of connectivity to existing town and populations."

Any plans that are put forward for the Todwick North site would need to mitigate any adverse impact on ecological interests.

The planning documents state: "Todwick North is close to the M1 along the newly widened A57 dual carriageway, giving it strong links to the Advanced Manufacturing Park and the wider Lower Don Valley economic growth zone via the private vehicle.

"It requires little or no financial input from the public sector and has come at the right time to take advantage of a recovering property market. With the right strategic intervention this site could be the catalyst for growth in Rotherham at a time when the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnersip are developing their plans to grow businesses and drive inward investment to create a balanced and sustainable economy."

Images: Ringway

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