Tuesday, November 14, 2017

News: Swinden Labs demolition

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Plans have been submitted so that demolition can take place at the Swinden Technology Centre (STC) site in Rotherham, as the owners, Tata Steel, look to change the use to a residential development.

The STC mainly focuses on product research and applications research for the transport, building and construction sectors but Tata considers that it is no longer a suitable home for the R&D arm and announced in 2014 that it is relocating research to Warwick University.

With Tata Steel's intention to leave the site, pre-application discussions with the Council have been taking place for a while.

Property consultants Harris Lamb have been working on a masterplan for the Moorgate site and proposals went on show earlier this year. The plans involve over 100 dwellings, including keeping the Grade II-listed Swinden House and converting into flats.

It is understood that the Indian-owned steelmaker will sell the site when planning permission for the residential development is secured.

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The facilities at STC were claimed to be, by the 1960s, one of the largest research organisations devoted to metallurgy in Europe but in 2014 Tata Steel considered them to be "no longer a suitable home to the research and development arm of Britain's second largest steel manufacturer."

The conversion of the lab buildings was looked at but discounted and now demolition firm, DSM has been appointed and plans have been submitted to take down the laboratories and associated buildings - the canteen, garage and storage shed. The labs were constructed in phases between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

Rotherham Council will need to approve the method of demolition and a timetable has not yet been published. A 2016 agreement between Tata Steel and Council planners showed that there is the potential for dwellings to start to be delivered on the site within the next five years.

United Steels acquired the site in 1946 and in addition to research laboratories, it also includes Swinden House, the former home of Rotherham solicitor Thomas Badger, plus playing fields, tennis courts and orchards. The Grade II listed building, previously known as "Red House" was completed in around 1880. The stable block, walled garden and the lodge are also protected.

The site also includes Sitwell House, a late nineteenth century house that is not a listed building but is set to be retained.

Images: Harris Lamb / DSM / NAMTEC

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