Tuesday, December 19, 2017

News: Housing plan for historic Rotherham site

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Five new homes are being created in Rotherham town centre as part of a heritage-led regeneration scheme.

29 High Street, above the Bears Den craft shop, was previously derelict and in a state of disrepair. The development will now include four one bedroomed flats and one single bedroomed duplex house all for rent. The properties will also benefit from a modern kitchen and bathroom and a generous living space.

The property is one of a number that were saved from being lost forever by local businessman Chris Hamby who has pioneered the project to create a complex of mixed-used retail outlets focusing on listed buildings. Now fully-let, units were created in The Three Cranes building and former Georgian Town House at 29-29a High Street.

Work is now well underway above and the properties are expected to be completed in the New Year. Chris, who also owns Hambys shoe shop and the antique centre on the High Street, requested permission from the Council to develop the space and create modern living facilities in the heart of the town.

Chris said: "I've been operating in Rotherham since 1992 and I've seen the town grow and thrive. In the last few years we've seen some difficult times, and no doubt we will continue to experience tough times in the years to come, however, this is a beautiful town on the up and I am hopeful that people will hold their faith and stay with us.

"The High Street is a fantastic area and we have some great restaurant and bars popping up so I wanted to develop better quality housing and make use of the space that was in total ruins."

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The Georgian Town House contained the remains of the Italian restaurant and was painstakingly restored with a new Victorian shop frontage and Doric door.

It was once occupied by the Badger family, a notable family of solicitors and lawyers.

The overall plan that enabled the buildings to be removed from Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register was backed by a £750,000 long term capital finance loan from Rotherham Council that secured £677,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) for additional, much needed works. A further £630,000 was made available by the Council to continue the restoration.

Rothbiz reported first on plans to convert the Grade II listed "hidden gem" behind the High Street into a boutique hotel. Set to open in Spring, the new hotel in the George Wright building is also set to include a gallery restaurant, gin bar and courtyard space.

Cllr Denise Lelliott, cabinet member for jobs and the local economy at Rotherham Council, said: "We have an ambitious economic growth plan in Rotherham and to achieve this we need to improve the quality and choice of housing in the borough. Developers like Chris are crucial to helpful us achieve our plans and we fully support any local business person who wants to invest in Rotherham and can see its true potential."

The new Rotherham town centre masterplan that places a greater emphasis on town centre living and leisure, as opposed to traditional retail uses. Town centre living is seen as critical to sustaining the long term health of the town centre and is important in achieving around the clock vitality and vibrancy and Rotherham Council has identified that the town centre has the land available to deliver 2,000 new homes.

Hamby's website

Images: UKSE

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