Monday, June 1, 2015

News: Rotherham cinema talks roll on

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Further requests have been made to consider redeveloping the bus station site in Rotherham town centre, with talk of a potential cinema.

The interchange in Rotherham town centre also includes a retail development covering 55,000 sq ft, consisting of 18 units and 750 parking spaces. It is owned by commercial property developers, Norseman Holdings, with the interchange and car park leased to South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), the organisation that takes the lead to develop the region's transport network.

The car park requires £4m worth of repairs and so partners have been looking at the potential of a larger redevelopment of the important site.

Opened in 1971, the car park has since developed widespread defects and the existing tight spaces and drab appearance mean that occupancy levels only average approximately one third of its 678 capacity.

Plans have been approved for the detailed design of the renovation and re-cladding of the four-storey car park where highly durable anodised mesh panels will be used to replace the poorly implemented current cladding, with the junctions and recesses in the structure used to break the building into an appearance of three blocks.

The existing four bay parking layout will be replaced with a three bay parking layout. This is designed to free up significant space for manoeuvring, as well as allowing people to get in and out of their vehicle with greater ease. However, this will result in the number of parking spaces reducing down to 485.

The start date of the refurbishment was delayed following a decision to further investigate alternative development options on the site. The SYPTE, Rotherham Council and Norseman Holdings met to discuss potential alternative development options for the site and Norseman committed to review the options of a leisure facility at the site and report back on options.

A cinema and new interchange scheme proposal was developed however the funding to deliver the scheme could not be sourced.

A proposal was also considered to totally reconfigure the layout of the bus station, from a drive through operation to a Drive in Reverse Out (DIRO) interchange.

Tendering is underway for the refurbishment of the car park with the intention to shortlist contractors and issue tender documentation this month. A report to the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee states that: "However this is currently being reviewed following a further request to reconsider the development of the site."

The redevelopment of the important site has been mooted for a number of years. Back in 2007, a scheme was submitted in outline by Norseman Holdings with a partner developer, Hartshead, and SYPTE for the redevelopment of the entire Interchange. As part of Rotherham Renaissance it was planned to include replacement car parking of 750 spaces, new retail floorspace of 125,000 sq ft and new office floorspace of 85,000 sq ft.

Discussions continued into 2008 as the scheme involved using the adjacent site of the former council building, Crinoline House. The scheme was shelved when TCN UK, the developer with a five year exclusivity agreement on the council sites, secured the Crinoline House site for a new petrol station as part of the £40m Tesco Extra development.

Rotherham town centre has been without a cinema for 25 years. Rotherham Council had earmarked Forge Island as the preferred site for a town centre cinema and theatre development but has recently been in discussions with developer, Evans regarding a potential office campus that would bring 2,000 new jobs to the former Tesco site.

Images: Aedas

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