Friday, February 3, 2017

News: Westgate Chambers redevelopment plans come forward

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Draft redevelopment plans for a prominent building in Rotherham town centre have been unveiled.

Westgate Chambers on Main Street is set to be brought back into wholesale use with retail, leisure and residential aspects - including the construction of a new block facing Domine Lane.

A decision to sell the asset was made by Rotherham Council back in 2014 and the deal is set to go through when planning permission has been granted.

Pre-application discussions have been ongoing with plans, drawn up by Self Architects, showing what the prospective new owners have in mind for the building, part of which is Grade 2 listed.

The later addition and some empty older buildings facing Domine Lane are set to be demolished and replaced with a new build section facing the Old Market development (pictured, below). It would include a large retail space of around 3,500 sq ft on the ground floor with 17 new apartments on the upper three floors.

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Acquired in 2006, the major part of the complex is currently home to bars, nightclubs and takeaways with disused offices on the upper floors converted into artists studios and community arts space in 2011.

The ground floor of the building that is set to be retained, which currently has a number of voids, would remain as leisure, retail and restaurant use. As would the units on the upper floors, currently home to popular rock bar, SNAFU and Jaxx.

New frontages could mirror the heritage-led regeneration of the nearby High Street.

The two upper floors facing Main Street and Westgate would be converted into a further 21 apartments under the plans.

A detailed planning application will now need to be submitted.
The Council made the strategic acquisition with a mix of funding from Yorkshire Forward (the Regional Development Agency) and Transform South Yorkshire (the housing market renewal (HMR) partnership for South Yorkshire) as part of plans to introduce residential elements to the Westgate and riverside areas of town.

Initial proposals for the refurbishment of Westgate Chambers aimed to deliver around 60 high-quality apartments with commercial units underneath but following the public spending review in 2010 and the closure of Yorkshire Forward in 2012, the main source of finance to deliver the Rotherham Renaissance programme was removed. Since then, a number of feasibility studies have taken place to identify how the redevelopment of Westgate Chambers can move forward and secure investment from other sources and the private sector.

7 and 9 Westgate are Grade 2 listed buildings. Known by many as the former Co-op buildings, they were originally constructed in 1794 by local architect, John Platt as a residence for himself.

Images: Self Architects


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