Tuesday, September 12, 2017

News: Rotherham town centre masterplan adopted by Council

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The cabinet and commissioners at Rotherham Council have approved the adoption of the town centre masterplan - enabling the authority to secure a development partner for the cinema and hotel led proposals for Forge Island.

The masterplan places a greater emphasis on town centre living and leisure, as opposed to traditional retail uses, in continuing the regeneration of Rotherham town centre. Developed for the Council by WYG Group and Lambert Smith Hampton, it includes key catalyst projects such as the proposed £43m leisure development on Forge Island.

Key projects in the plan are detailed here including Guest & Chrimes, along the River Don, The Markets, Transport interchange, Doncaster Gate and Main Street.

Cllr. Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, said: "The masterplan was required to provide details of projects to revitalise the town but it was clear in our brief that it should be implementation focused. It needed to identify significant deliverable projects and be bold but also be commercial, pragmatic and realistic."

Indicating the focus on implementation, the authority has worked to secure an number of sites in the town - Forge Island, the Law Courts and Riverside Precinct.

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The approval at this week's meeting has also enabled the Council to take the first project to the market. A two stage process is being carried out to identify a development partner and establish a joint venture.

Developers, investors and operators are showing a keen interest in working up proposals for Forge Island including a five screen cinema, 60-bed hotel, food outlets, bars and cafes (around 24,000 - 30,000 sq ft of space), and 120+ residential units. A 300+ space multi storey car park is also in the plans and a feasibility study is being carried out on the potential of a new theatre and arts space on the adjacent site.

Soft-market testing has been underway alongside property firm, LSH and a brief was taken to MIPIM, the global property event.

On Forge Island, Damien Wilson, strategic director of regeneration and environment at Rotherham Council, said: "The easiest way to regenerate the site would be just to sell the site to anybody who may come forward with a decent plan. However, what you do then is lose control of the land, lose control of planning to a certain extent. You could do it internally by managing it and implement it yourself at the Council - that carries a greater degree of risk - you are taking on the financial risk and the liabilities as well.

"Our view is to invite a development partner to come along - to go out to the market and invite proposals and options. They will come forward with their proposals, their mix of different types of uses, and we can make an assessment on the basis of quality, on the basis of price, on the basis of whether there might be a financial gap and how that may be plugged. It gives us control because we are not only the owner of the site but also the planning authority. It's a much stronger way of ensuring that you get the development that you would want.

"Having done some work with the private sector over a number of months we are quietly confident that we have an attractive scheme."

The Council has an allocation of funding for the town centre, under their Capital Programme - some £17m. The Council intends to use this and its land holdings to drive forward the developments in the masterplan, but as a funding option of last resort and where it can be shown to draw in other public and private investment to ensure developments proceed. This has been the case in acquiring Forge Island.

Images: RMBC / WYG


5 comments:

Anonymous,  September 12, 2017 at 1:03 PM  

Would be fantastic to have a cinema in Rotherham!

Anonymous,  September 12, 2017 at 1:28 PM  

We need action not plans this has been going on since 2005 but no development in sight if it is not implemented within 6 months it's game over as the town is in a very fragile state Action required

Anonymous,  September 12, 2017 at 4:52 PM  

Action is required not plans all this was said in 2005 and nothing has been done if in 6 months time it's the same then game over

Anonymous,  September 12, 2017 at 5:53 PM  

Yada, yada, yada. RMBC are the kings of procrastination. We need ACTIONS not words!

Anonymous,  September 13, 2017 at 10:21 PM  

Wow a masterplan lmao.another pile of crap by a useless council.

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