Wednesday, August 29, 2018

News: Bassingthorpe transport improvements outlined

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Millions of pounds worth of transport improvements are being devised to support the large housing development proposed for Bassingthorpe Farm in Rotherham.

A new signalised junction at Potter Hill and a new roundabout at The Whins are being put forward to provide extra capacity at key junctions for all traffic along the already busy B6089 route.

As part of the Local Plan core strategy that was adopted by the Council in 2014, the 215 hectare area close to Rotherham town centre was controversially removed from the Green Belt and designated as a Strategic Allocation and the main location for new housing, employment and retail growth.

2,400 dwellings could be joined by 11 hectares for employment use, a local health centre, primary school, and a local centre together with the green and social infrastructure necessary to create facilities to serve the new and existing communities.

Rothbiz reported in July on the Council's preparations to dispose of its land that forms part of the Bassingthorpe housing allocation.

Around 57 hectares (26%) of the site is under Rotherham Council's ownership and the Council has been leading on the proposals for a number of years, working collaboratively with major landowner, Fitzwilliam (Wentworth) Estates, on how to bring forward the project.

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At the same time, the Council is hunting for external funds to support the infrastructure around the site. For example £3.3m is being sought from the Government's Local Growth Fund via the Sheffield city region.

An outline business case for the funding has a total of £8.45m for the project, stretching into 2022, and other sources could include the region's Integrated Transport Block (ITB).

Greasbrough Public Hall was controversially demolished by the Council as it highlighted that the site was required to facilitate a highway improvement scheme at the junction that fronts the hall. Here, a new signalised junction would be created where Potter Hill, Coach Road and Main Street meet.

On Cinder Bridge Road, a new roundabout is proposed at the triangular road layout at The Whins.

In between the proposed new junctions on the B6089, a dedicated right turn lane is planned at the junction with Church Street and Harold Croft.

The business case states: "There is currently considerable queuing and delay through these junctions, particularly during peak times. The improvement scheme will increase capacity for all traffic along the B6089, providing journey time and reliability benefits for commuters, business users and transport providers.

"Reducing congestion, improving journey times and capacity will ensure an attractive route directly between Rotherham and the Dearne Valley Growth Area. This will reduce congestion levels within the borough and improve accessibility to a regionally significant employment growth zone, supporting economic growth and development aspirations in accordance with the RMBC Local Plan Core Strategy and Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

"The Bassingthorpe Farm Strategic Housing Allocation is located within close proximity to these junctions. Transport modelling has indicted that these improvements will need to be implemented to cater for the growth of the site (2,500 homes and 11ha Employment Land) therefore assisting regeneration of the local and regional area."

Previous work has shown estimated delivery costs of over £350m for the Bassingthorpe project with the infrastructure needed to bring forward houses, associated retail and employment uses estimated at over £50m.

Work to improve the nearby road network is underway including a £4.63m scheme to improve capacity on College Road roundabout on the edge of Rotherham town centre. The main work here is not due to start until the temporary bus station on Forge Island closes next year.

Images: Google Maps / RMBC

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