Thursday, November 12, 2015

News: Market reacts positively to Todwick North proposals

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A 30 hectare agricultural site at Todwick in Rotherham is seen as ideal for economic development as the local commercial property market suffers from a shortage of stock.

The site at the Todwick roundabout was earmarked for a high quality business park in the latest plans for the borough's future employment land. Consultation has recently closed on the version of Rotherham's Sites and Policies document that the Council intends to submit to the Government.

Currently in the greenbelt, the land adjacent to the A57 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."

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The loss of greenbelt land has been raised by a number of concerned residents but a number of respondents have backed the proposals to change the use of the site.

Developers backing the scheme have found support from local commercial property agents, Knight Frank, who are confident of attracting suitable businesses to the site given that previous speculative developments in the region have been snapped up, whilst few similar developments have come forward since the global economic downturn.

In a letter to planning consultants, DLP Planning, submitted as part of the consultation, Rebecca Schofield, partner at the Sheffield office of Knight Frank, said: "The subject site is superbly located close to junction 31 of the M1 motorway, with access via the new A57 dual carriageway, which will allow the site to capture both local and regional occupiers, as well as attract footloose enquiries looking for good access to the motorway network."

The large site is expected to be versatile and cater for a vast range of requirements. This would appeal to both the logistics and distribution sector, and the industrial and manufacturing market, potentially on a design and build basis.

Schofield added: "We have in fact tentatively mentioned the availability of the site to a retailer, looking for new distribution premises in the area and a manufacturer looking for a new processing facility, both of whom have responded positively at this early stage, but cannot consider it further due to uncertainty at this stage. There is also a pharmaceutical company looking to acquire 15 acres in the area to procure a new facility in phases; totalling 300,000 sq ft over time.

"We feel that the site would be an ideal commercial development and one that is welcomed within the region."

In searching for the "next Dearne Valley," the Council believes that the Todwick site could be home to hundreds of jobs, stating in planning documents that "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 Partnership are developing their plans to grow businesses and drive inward investment to create a balanced and sustainable economy."

Knight Frank website

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