Monday, June 19, 2017

News: Waverley masterplan changes

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The submission of an application for a £50m retail mixed use development at the heart of the Waverely new community site in Rotherham has led to the landowners, Harworth Group, making changes to the overall masterplan.

Approved in 2010, the largest, most complex, planning application ever considered by Rotherham Council gave outline approval for South Yorkshire's largest ever brownfield development, creating a new 3,890 home community across 741 acres.

The masterplan has been updated a number of times since then, responding to changes in the market relating to the houses being built and their density, and the type of commercial and employment use on the site. Transport schemes, like a proposed park and ride, have been scaled back and the timings of when road improvements take place have been amended.

In May, Harworth Group plc established a joint venture company, Waverley Square Limited, with Dransfield Properties, the Barnsley-based company that specialises in retail led regeneration schemes, to bring forward the "the piece of the jigsaw" between the residential and commercial developments at the regeneration site on the former Orgreave coking works.

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The latest application shows that there was little interest from retail agents and potential occupiers in the retail scheme approved as part of the original masterplan that placed retail and community uses on the other side of the housing development, and away from the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP).

The main change to the masterplan relates to the creation of a more centrally located mixed use centre. The area previously planned for retail and community use is set to be replaced by further housing and as a site for one of two new primary schools. The sponsor of the first school is set to be announced soon.

"Waverley Waterside" is now intended to be secondary to the proposed main mixed use centre and is expected to be brought forward further into the 20 year development plan.

The waterside area would include around 14,000 sq ft of retail floorspace compared to the 100,000 sq ft planned for the latest scheme on the land previously know as Highfield Commercial.

The plans, drawn up with Barton Wilmore consultants, state: "In terms of timescales, given the need to progress with the development of a mixed use centre in the shorter term to serve the growing residential and business community, and the commercial and market advice given to date, it is proposed to bring forward the main mixed use centre on Highfield Commercial in advance of the secondary Waverley Waterside local centre to ensure a deliverable and market facing set of services and facilities are provided at the heart of Waverley on a visible and prominent site which has the frontage to attract retailers in the short term.

"It is then expected in time that this will attract further commercial interest in Waverley which would allow the remaining 1,300 sqm of retail floor space and ancillary commercial and community uses to come forward at a smaller local centre at Waverley Waterside as the amount of housing continues to grow and this part of the site is developed out in the future.

"This single smaller secondary local centre is intended to complement the larger main centre being provided on Highfield Commercial. The phasing for Waverley has always reflected this in any event with the Waterfront Character area being developed as part of the final fourth phase [2028 - 2032]."
Waverley Waterside is considered as the recreational destination for the development. It is described in the latest masterplan: "On the lake edge mixed use elements such as cafes, bars and retail will face directly into a space - the start of a public promenade that fronts the lake edge and guides people around its southern edge to play areas and circular walking routes."

In addition to relocated some of the areas, the applicants are also proposing to push back the start date for some of the transport improvements committed as part of the original application. For example, the improvements to Main Street and Treeton Lane are now proposed from when 1,000 dwellings are occupied which should be in 2021, rather than 500 which is much sooner.

Also on the Waverley site, national land management charity, the Land Trust, has signed an agreement with Harworth to manage the greenspaces around new residential developments. The masterplan includes some 350 acres of public open space.

Harworth Group website

Images: Harworth / Barton Wilmore


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