Wednesday, March 29, 2017

News: £12.5m loan for Rotherham bus station refurb

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The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority (CA) is preparing to borrow £12.5m so that the long-awaited refurbishment of Rotherham Interchange in the town centre can be carried out.

Partners decided last year to focus on refurbishing the car park and bus station rather than a large scale redevelopment. Opened in 1971, the multi storey car park has since developed widespread defects. It is underutilised and "nearing the point of being beyond economic repair." The bus station, which has associated public safety issues, suffered a fire in 2016 which caused significant damage.

Plans were approved in 2014 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.

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Talks have been ongoing between the operators, the SYPTE, Rotherham Council and owners Norseman Holdings on which option to take. A cinema and new interchange scheme proposal was developed but the funding to deliver the scheme could not be sourced.

The work on the car park will now be combined with the refurbishment of the bus station underneath and is set to be funded by the CA borrowing up to £12.5m over the next three years.

The CA is the legal body created by the nine local authorities that comprise the Sheffield city region that has responsibility for transport, economic development and regeneration.

A report to the CA states: "Serious degradation on the physical infrastructure of the interchange has led to parts of it being closed on health and safety grounds. SYPTE has a contractual obligation to the current tenant to make good repairs to the facility, and it has been judged that this level of investment is an efficient means of discharging that obligation whilst also securing an effective strategic asset into the future.

"The costs of this investment are put at £12.5m. SYPTE's Executive Board believe that this investment is the most suitable means of discharging their contractual responsibilities whilst also providing the town and the region with the bus network infrastructure it requires.

"Although the cost of this investment is high it is noted that other options are limited."

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The paper adds that the costs of borrowing £12.5m are likely to be significant, and the search continues for other funding options, including opportunities to "re-role" other Government funding for stalled schemes to the Interchange project.

£3m from the reserves of South Yorkshire's transport budget has previously been put aside for the works and a bid for funding was presented to the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority in December.

Revenue costs associated with the borrowing will be paid for over fifty years and could amount to a total of £22m. These costs will need to be met by the levies paid by all the South Yorkshire councils.
The refurbishment project involves resolving a number of issues including the repairs following the bus fire on stand A6 in May 2016, structural repairs to the multi storey car park and recladding the upper part of the structure and a refurbishment of the bus station to improve its appeal.

Jefferson Sheard has been appointed by the SYPTE as the architect and is in pre-application discussions with Rotherham Council.

Images: Google Maps / SYPTE


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