Wednesday, July 6, 2016

News: £3m for Rotherham Interchange refurb

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£3m from the reserves of South Yorkshire's transport budget is set to be used to support the cost of refurbishing the car park at Rotherham Interchange which is "nearing the point of being beyond economic repair."

The town's bus station also includes a retail development covering 55,000 sq ft and consisting of 18 units. Opened in 1971, the multi storey car park on the site 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.

Rothbiz reported in February that typical defects include extensive corrosion to imbedded steel reinforcement. As a consequence there has been spalling (breaking into fragments) in the columns, beams, up-stands, curbs and structural topping to the decks. Additionally a remedial waterproof deck failed and steel tie-bars were corroding.

A vehicle fire in May caused damage to the building, closing the car park and some of the stands.

The latest budget put before the Sheffield city region transport committee shows that £4.3m in reserves is available to projects to be re-earmarked and £3m is set to be used to support costs of refurbishing the Rotherham car park.

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The car park requires £4m worth of repairs and plans have been approved for the detailed design of the renovation and re-cladding of the four-storey car park. However, the start date of the refurbishment was delayed following a decision to further investigate alternative development options on the site.

Talks have been ongoing since the operators, the SYPTE, Rotherham Council and owners Norseman Holdings met in 2013 to discuss potential alternative development options for the site. The SYPTE is set to decide on whether they wish to redevelop the site as an Interchange or continue a programme of repairs.

A spokesperson for the SYPTE said: "We are currently undertaking a detailed investigation of the fire damage, required to determine the structural repairs necessary to re-open the car park. Cleaning and repair work made necessary after the fire is also ongoing at the Interchange.

"SYPTE with RMBC is considering refurbishment and redevelopment options to ensure any proposals compliment the future of the town centre as a whole. The £3m reserves will support delivery of the option that is agreed."

The interchange site is a key site in the emerging masterplan for the town centre. In resposnse to the consultation on the plans the SYPTE said: "SYPTE welcome the opportunity to redevelop this site in partnership with RMBC and this document for reinforcing the need of the interchange to maintain its use as a transport hub and that any additional uses, such as retail, be ancillary to its main use.

"Work is currently ongoing on various possibilities for the future of the Interchange and SYPTE welcomes the importance this document places on getting this redevelopment right. The interchange is key component to a successful town centre and in many cases the first place people travelling into the town will see.

"SYPTE understand there are a number of complexities when developing this site, including the current structural issues in the car park."

The recently published draft capital strategy from Rotherham Council included an ambition to invest in "Improvements to the Transport Interchange, to address current condition and public safety issues. The aim is to create a new, brighter, safer environment and address some of the issues around CSE in and around the existing Interchange."

Only 15% of school pupils responding to the Borough Wide Lifestyle Survey said they feel safe at the bus station

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.

SYPTE website

Images: SYPTE / Aedas

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