Friday, March 10, 2017

News: Rotherham Council objects to £300m Meadowhall leisure hall

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Rotherham Council is objecting to a planning application for a £300m Leisure Hall at Meadowhall, stating that it is likely to have a significant adverse impact on Rotherham town centre and the planned investment in the Forge Island site.

The plan comprises a 330,000 sq ft multi-level extension housed under a glazed roof on land currently used for car parking. Plans show leisure space to provide a range of other uses to meet the needs of a wide family group, including a new cinema (the existing Vue Cinema will close, and be changed to an alternative leisure use) plus space for food and drink outlets. A new foodstore and added retail units are also planned.

Due to the out-of-town location, the applicants are required to undertake a sequential test and impact studies in line with national planning policies. Rotherham Council has been asked for its views due to the site being 5 km from Sheffield city centre and 3 km from Rotherham town centre.

Applicants, British Land, insist that the development will not have any unacceptable trading effects on Rotherham town centre or cause any significant adverse impact on planned investment.

Retail studies conclude that Rotherham town centre ranks highest as experiencing the greatest level of competition amongst the 200 UK centres due to its proximity to Meadowhall and Parkgate. Council planners point to the fragility of the health of Rotherham town centre and conclude that the impact on the vitality and viability of Rotherham town centre is likely to be significantly adverse if Meadowhall is extended.

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A report to the planning board at Rotherham Council adds: "Due to the lack of leisure facilities in Rotherham town centre at present, the proposed floorspace in the Meadowhall extension is unlikely to have a direct impact on the existing health of the centre but is nevertheless likely to be a contributory factor to a wider indirect impact on the centre due to the growing attractiveness of Meadowhall."

The proposals for Forge Island, recently purchased by the Council who hope to see a £43m leisure hub created, are not considered as "committed investment that is contractually committed or subject to resolution" and were not included in the applicant's impact statement. The applicants also stated that, as the cinema is being replaced at Meadowhall, the potential interest in a cinema is Rotherham is in the context that a cinema already operates at Meadowhall and Valley Centertainment and will complement any future offer in Rotherham.

Rotherham planners agree that the Meadowhall cinema will not fundamentally affect operator interest in Rotherham in its own right but have a greater level of concern in relation to the food and beverage uses. They are worried that some operators will prefer Meadowhall over Rotherham and that "operators will not have the confidence to invest at the Forge Island site due to the strength of Meadowhall in the local catchment."

It is likely that the cinema on the Forge Island site would be occupied by an independent operator and unless the food/beverage uses are attracted then the cinema use will not be delivered.

The report concludes: "It is considered that the Meadowhall extension is likely to pose a significant threat to the investment in the Forge Island site. This is a threat to both public and private investment as RMBC has recently purchased the site with the intention of facilitating redevelopment. Private sector investment will also be affected as RMBC will not be able to secure a development partner to pursue the redevelopment as development viability will be affected.

"Rotherham town centre has suffered over a number of years in terms of business confidence, with considerable competition from Sheffield city centre, Meadowhall and Parkgate in Rotherham. This is evident from the high number of vacancies and the falling level of comparison goods retailers and the on-going threat of further retailers deciding to move to competing locations. As a consequence, with already low levels of confidence, we consider that the Meadowhall extension is likely to have a significant adverse impact on existing investment in Rotherham town centre."

Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce is backing the proposals at Meadowhall, supporting the application to ensure that the region does not lose visitors and for the economic benefits of additional jobs and through the local supply chain.

Future Meadowhall website

Images: British land


3 comments:

Mr me March 10, 2017 at 6:43 PM  

At last,theyve grown some balls,said Rotherham should ay Sheffields game and odject.Well Done !

Mr me March 11, 2017 at 1:01 AM  

Rotherham can only attract an independent cinema company,yet just up road in Barnsley,theyre getting a full size multiplex in there £120million development,already signed and sealed and due to open within 3 years.Cant help but feel Rotherham council run the town(which is quite a bit bigger than Barnsley)Like a small parish council not a town of 260000(122000)in cetral area.Useless!

Anonymous,  March 11, 2017 at 6:15 PM  

Rotherham is dump like barnsley

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