Wednesday, September 2, 2020

News: Council's ambition for Primark site

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With its major housebuilding developments underway in Rotherham town centre, Rotherham Council is turning its attentions to other key sites - including the vacant former Primark store on the High Street.

The authority has committed £50m over the next three years to build homes and have launched its Rother Living brand. 1,000s of new homes were earmarked in the masterplan which places an importance on enabling more people to live in the town centre.

The latest phase sees national contractor Willmott Dixon on site to deliver 171 homes as part of a £31.5m contract. Schemes are underway on the site of the former Henley's garage in Wellgate, another on Sheffield Road, and the final site on Westgate on the Millfold House site.

An update to councillors sets out where else the Council could kickstart housebuilding.

Further town centre housing ambitions are:

- Acquisition and remediation of other key Sheffield Road sites – control over riverside zone
- Extending this ambition to High Street: 30 apartments on the Primark site
- Gap funding for Forge Island apartments

In 2017, Primark announced plans to open a new store at Parkgate Shopping, relocating from Rotherham town centre. One of the largest retail units in the town centre, 11-13 High Street went up for sale described as a "prime retail opportunity." It extends to some 22,343 sq ft on the ground floor, the first floor covers 19,237 sq ft, and there is over 1,000 sq ft on the second floor.

A Guernsey-based real estate company, established at the same time as the Primark move was announced, is responsible for paying the empty business rates on the property.

The property has been advertised as leasehold but freehold offers will be considered. The rent for the property has been given a guide price of offers in excess of £200,000 per annum exclusive.

Later in 2018, the property was put up for auction with a guide price of 500,000. It failed to sell and still remains vacant.

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On Sheffield Road, a 1.43 hectare site (pictured, below) is currently home to the Royal Mail sorting office, BT's telephone exchange and land used for car parking.

Previously Westgate Station, part of the site has a long planning history with owners, Satnam Urban Regeneration, putting forward plans for a food store to rival those being put forward for Tesco. A long running legal battle with the Council came to an end in 2009 and nothing much has happened since apart from the rebirth of pubs as real ale favourites.

The Local Plan prescribed a mix of uses, predominately housing, but not retail. In the town centre masterplan, the site is allocated an indicative number of 143 homes to be delivered between 2021 and 2026. However, Royal Mail said in 2017 that it had no plans to close or relocate the sorting office and asked for a policy that states that "the re-provision / relocation of Royal Mail's operations will be required prior to redevelopment."

At Forge Island, developers, Muse, secured planning permission earlier this year for a cinema and hotel scheme which included outline plans for later phases - 50 riverside residential units on land known as the abattoir site behind Market Street and 70 residential units on the site of the former courts buildings.

Rotherham Council are being invited to bid into the Government's Brownfield Housing Programme which has set aside over £40m for the Sheffield city region. The funding can be used for acquisition, infrastructure, remediation and direct housebuilding.

Images: Allsop / Google Maps

10 comments:

Rod September 2, 2020 at 1:26 PM  

Sheffield Road starts at the junction of Westgate/ Canklow Road. Westgate runs roughly north from the aforesaid junction to the bottom of Ship Hill which is where the other land for development is. (Royal Mail is strictly classed as being on Main Street). So the Council doesn’t even know the name of its streets (there’s a clue in the fact that Westgate station was here, and not ‘Sheffield Road’ station).

Unknown September 2, 2020 at 10:55 PM  

With the demise of traditional retail, more and more town centres are looking to repopulate them. Rotherham is ahead of the curve and makeing huge strides to halt the decline and bring the town centre back to life.

Anonymous,  September 3, 2020 at 12:24 AM  

Blog admin what was wrong with comment stating that flats being built will house mainly dole scroungers, druggies, and economic migrants. What in that statement isn't true of Rotherham Town centre, and more importantly what is offensive in it.?? Please enlighten��

Tom,  September 3, 2020 at 8:36 AM  

I removed it because it contained an expletive.

Anonymous,  September 3, 2020 at 10:57 AM  

Its ok repopulating Town centres more retail is needed hopefully forge island and other developments will be getting more people to come out

Tony Richardson,  September 4, 2020 at 6:46 AM  

While ever Rotherham council charges for parking in the town centre and wardens are lurking to pounce with a parking ticket, people will choose to shop where it is free parking. It's not rocket science to see why the town centre is dying!

Anonymous,  September 4, 2020 at 1:12 PM  

Tony, I work all over country, and rarely if ever, come across town /city centres with free parking, it dosnt happen. Paying for parking isn't the problem, the problem is little or no reason to actually come into Rotherham Town centre. Town centres are dieng nationwide and will never recover. People will always now shop online or odd trip to major shopping malls. It's over.Leisure is the way for town/city centres, and public transport is the way forward,better for environment (remember climate change) and also leisure involves having a drink or two, so driving shouldn't happen.

Pauline Higgins,  September 5, 2020 at 8:43 PM  

I am a business owner in Rotherham on BRIDGEGATE really it needs something doing down there 3 pubs people standing outside no social distancing we have drug dealers walking up and down we have a lot of homeless people sitting on wall and benches then we have the Uber drivers taxi drivers doing a job but the traffic on the walk ways is shocking my staff nearly got knocked down a old lady did get ran down with a driver that was reversing out there is no convieneant parking my self has to park near Tesco and wall through so all comes at a cost I have videoed the drivers it terrible for all shops what’s left on BRIDGEGATE so come on let’s get something done before it’s too late

Nick Gillott September 6, 2020 at 10:49 AM  

Rotherham town centre has nothing to attract customers so it might as well become a housing estate!

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