Wednesday, May 17, 2017

News: Rotherham Law Courts sentenced to demolition

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As wrecking crews get to work demolishing the former Tesco store on Forge Island, it is looking increasingly likely that the nearby former Law Court buildings will also be flattened.

Rotherham Council acquired the former home of the Magistrates' Court, County Court and Family Court, from Her Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) for £1 in March.

Following a decision by Commissioner Kenny, the option to demolish the building was delegated to the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment and the Council has now begun the tender process to find a firm to take down the buildings on the 1.34 acre site.

Damien Wilson, Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment at Rotherham Council, said when the deal was concluded that: "the whole area around Forge Island is a key site in our plans to regenerate the town centre as part of our masterplan so this is another significant step in making these plans become a reality.

"We already have several developers interested in Forge Island and this purchase will significantly aid our plans, bringing added benefits to the town centre masterplan. The site could play a number of different roles through redevelopment and has the potential to accommodate several alternative, complementary activities."

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Only built in 1994, the buildings by the canal, and between the police station and railway station, were vacated in September 2016 after the Government decided to close 86 of the original 91 courts earmarked for closure under its modernisation plans.

The Rotherham building provided 62,785 sq ft of floorspace over four floors but was dubbed "poor quality" and work was transferred to Sheffield.

Complimenting Forge Island and other Council-owned sites on Corporation Street, a cleared Law Courts site could be worth an estimated £500,000.

Demolition costs are around £250,000 according to tender documents and funding is set to be taken from the approved £17m town centre allocation in the Council's Capital Strategy 2016-2021.

The key Forge Island site and surrounding land could deliver a 25,000 sq ft cinema, 20,000 sq ft hotel and 6,000 sq ft of restaurants and bars. It has an estimated project value of £43.5m and is seen as a catalyst project in the new town centre masterplan that was due to be published this month.

Demolition of the vacant Tesco store is underway by local firm, Demex and "soft marketing testing" of both operators and developers has been undertaken with RiDO currently working with property agents, Lambert Smith Hampton.

Through the One Public Estate strategy for the Sheffield city region, The Rotherham courts site has been highlighted for potential residential development as it could provide 120 units including 60 starter homes.

Tendering is also underway for the removal of timber cladding and glass panels on the Tesco footbridge over the River Don.

Images: Google Maps


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