Thursday, June 15, 2017

News: Council reaching "last resort" over eyesore buildings

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Rotherham Council is plotting a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to finally deal with two large burnt out buildings in Rotherham town centre.

Rothbiz reported in March that the properties on Corporation Street were on the Council's radar.

On the key route through town, the former Envy nightclub building, which suffered a malicious fire in 2007, and Muskaan restaurant, which was closed after a fire in 2011, have been left empty ever since, and whilst not structurally unsafe, the buildings are widely acknowledged to be an eyesore.

Whilst negotiations continue with the absentee owners over the purchase of 3-7 Corporation Street, Council officers are hoping to gain approval to consider the compulsory acquisition of the properties if a deal cannot be done.

Compulsory purchase powers are provided to enable acquiring authorities to compulsorily purchase land to carry out a function which Parliament has decided is in the public interest.

In this case, the land is close to the Forge Island and Riverside sites, acquired by the authority and seen as a key catalyst for the continued regeneration of the town centre.

As the new town centre masterplan is due to be published later this month, the Council wants to acquire the burnt out buildings to facilitate the redevelopment of the site.

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A report to the cabinet and commissioners decision making meeting states: "The Council has made previous attempts to bring the properties in question back into use by working with the owners, but without success.

"The preferred option would be to engage with the current owners of these properties to agree how this site could be brought forward for development. However, officers have not been able to contact the owners by phone and to date have received no response to letters sent. This lack of engagement by the owners has led to the Council considering the compulsory purchase route.

"This option [CPO] is deemed to be a last resort and should be used only after all efforts have been made to purchase the site by agreement."

In March, Cllr. Denise Lelliott, cabinet member for jobs and the local economy, said: "With the purchase of Forge Island, the launch of the masterplan and the site identified, we can then, finally, knock them buildings down on Corporation Street and I might even drive the bulldozer myself."

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Once acquired, the Council said it would look to procure a development partner to bring this site forward. A brief, setting out the broad proposal for the site and desired outputs is being developed.

A developer partner is set to be procured by the end of 2017 and if a purchase of the properties by mutual agreement with the current owners is not concluded then the CPO process will commence in early 2018.

Any costs associated with the acquisition, demolition and procurement of a developer partner are set to come from the allocation of the Council's capital strategy.

The law and procedures relating to compulsory purchase are very complex. It was used by Sheffield City Council in acquiring land for its New Retail Quarter.

For a CPO to be successful there needs to be a properly defined development area and scheme for the site, which must enhance the economic, environmental or social wellbeing of the area. There also needs to be a clear planning justification for the scheme, which needs to be financially viable and commercially deliverable.

Images: Google Maps


2 comments:

Keith June 15, 2017 at 10:40 PM  

Why does everything the council do take so long, these buildings needed demolishing years ago. I understand there are procedures to follow but one of these buildings has been derelict for 10 years.

Anonymous,  June 16, 2017 at 11:13 AM  

Above post is 100% true, take a look up the M1 at Barnsley town centre ! Don't hold your breath with anything in Rotherham !

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