Friday, November 21, 2014

News: Council keeps car park open on Forge Island

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220 car parking spaces are now open for visitors and shoppers in Rotherham town centre on the site of the old Tesco store on Forge Island.

The new £40m Tesco Extra, which also includes 540 parking spaces, has opened across town on a five-acre site that was home to a number of council buildings on Drummond Street.

The council has stepped in on Forge Island to offer 70 free spaces for an hour, with the remainder being charged at £1 for two hours, £2 for four hours and £3 all day parking.

Cabinet Member for Business Growth and Regeneration, Councillor Dominic Beck, said: "It's great news that we've been able to secure these extra parking spaces for the town centre which will undoubtedly boost trade at that end of town.

"The pay-and-display machines have been installed and although it's great that the cost of both short and long stay parking has been kept to a minimum, it's the fact that that we've been able to provide spaces which will allow visitors to shop for an hour free-of-charge that’s the real story.

"This is the first time we've had bays like this in the town centre and hopefully it will be a massive boost to Rotherham's independent retailers.

"I've no doubt that it will encourage those shoppers wanting to quickly run into the town centre for an individual item, or just visit a couple of shops, to use Rotherham rather than other shopping destinations.

"The car park will also be offering the free weekend parking offer up to and including December 27."

Dawn Topliss, owner of the Craft Corner and Bears Den in nearby Riverside Precinct, added: "It's fantastic news that the town centre has these extra car parking spaces and even better that people can park for free for an hour.

"With Tesco leaving the site, it should keep people flowing to this side of town and all the great businesses here.

"This, plus the free weekend parking and the events which are taking place in the run-up to Christmas are a real indication of the enhancement of the Rotherham town Centre shopping experience."

The long term future of Forge Island is uncertain. The council has continued arrangements for the strategic acquisition of the vacated site, which could include a purchase and sale to a third party. The council has an option to buy the site for £1.5m and in 2012, the council's cabinet confirmed Forge Island as the preferred site for a town centre cinema and theatre development.

However, the recently published final draft of the borough's Local Plan states that "the future of the site is uncertain, as are any constraints (such as land contamination). As such it is not identified as a leisure or office development site."

Rotherham Town Centre website

Images: RMBC

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