Friday, February 28, 2020

News: Regeneration of Rotherham town centre will continue to focus on residential and leisure


As it goes on the search for further funding, Council bosses continue to reiterate that the regeneration of Rotherham town centre will not solely be based around retail and will continue to focus on residential and leisure.

The Council has confirmed that it is finalising a bid for just over £20m to the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) which would help deliver the redevelopment plans.

As Rothbiz revealed last week, the bid has aims that follow on from the town centre masterplan. The plans would help deliver the transformation and reorientation of town centre including schemes to redevelop the markets and to improve open spaces along key gateways within the town, complementing the work to be undertaken as part of the Forge Island development.


Cllr. Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, said: "The plans put forward are big, and they needed to be. The priority has been securing the funding to bring those plans into reality.

"We are laying solid foundations with our partners with the new University Centre, refurbished bus station and the Tram Train service already in place. Work on Forge Island also continues; bringing us another step closer to the exciting cinema and leisure scheme that is planned. There’s also £30 million being invested to create housing and breathe new life into three town centre sites.

"Our Town Centre Masterplan sets out our vision, moving towards a more diverse mix of uses with a focus on residential and leisure, quality open spaces and better connectivity."

Documnets put before the Council's cabinet showed that the four main themes of the draft bid are:

- Redevelopment of Rotherham Markets that will include the relocation of the Central Library, a Community Hub and Food/Entertainment Court.
- The TCM identifies a number of residential development opportunities, creating an attractive Town Centre residential offer and in particular housing within the Forge Island development.
- Updating and re-imagining the Public Realm that links these sites, along with other key sites included in the TCM, and guides the town's footfall is seen as another key priority
- Facilitating the retention of Grimm & Co, an innovative literacy charity, by supporting their relocation to larger premises enhances a truly unique offer and visitor attraction in Rotherham's town centre, this would be 100% grant funded and would not have any revenue implications for the Council.

The FHSF plans are subject to change and further consultation will take place before the final bid is submitted. The Council's final bid is due for submission in April, with successful bids expected to be informed in the summer.

Images: RMBC


News: Rotherham pub plans passed


Plans have been approved to enable an old established pub in the heart of Brampton en le Morthern in Rotherham to rise again.

Rothbiz reported last month that The Rising Deer had been closed for over 12 years but new proposals had been drawn up that would see the village pub reopen with a new extension to the existing building.

The plans were submitted on behalf of Mr I Wild, an established publican with experience of running The Robin Hood pub at Aughton and planners have recently given their approval.

The site is in the conservation area of Brampton en le Morthen and the plans focus on retaining and re-furbishing the current historic building. At the rear, the extension that houses the storage and toilet areas would be demolished and replaced with a two storey building that would take architectural reference and design from the original main building.

The extension is required as the pub in its present state and size does not allow for a viable business. The increase in trade area should create a traditional drinkers pub and a dining area.

Rotherham Council said that it had received four representations all in support of the application from local residents and a representation in support of the proposals from the Brampton-en-le-Morthen Village Association.


On granting approval, planners explained: "The proposed extensions would together represent an overall increase in volume from the original building of 64%. The Council’s Policies and Guidance normally restrict extensions to buildings in the Green Belt to a maximum volume increase of 33%. As such, the proposed development represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt. In terms of the impact on openness of the Green Belt.

"In view of the above, very special circumstances need to be provided to justify the harm caused by way of the inappropriate development."

Those special circumstances approved by the Council include bringing the pub into use and providing a hub for the local community. Planners also acknowledge that the proposed extension would allow for up to 40 diners as well as a separate drinking area along with a kitchen and customer toilets, making the pub a viable prospect.

Planners conclude: "It is noted that the public house has been closed since 2008 and is the only public house in the village. It is considered that it's re-opening would only be of a benefit to the village and provide a valuable community facility for the local residents.

"As such, it is considered that the proposed extensions whilst representing a 64% increase in volume over the original building, it is not excessive in terms of bringing the premises up to a modern standard. Indeed, it is considered that the extensions are essential to make the public house into a viable modern business."

Images: Google Maps


News: Rotherham to play its part in biggest Women's EUROs to date


The borough's involvement in the UEFA Women's EURO 2021 is set to not only raise the profile of Rotherham United, but that of the town as a whole.

Rothbiz reported in December that Rotherham's AESSEAL New York Stadium will host four high profile international games at the tournament including a prestigious quarter final on July 24.

Now in its 13th edition, the UEFA Women's EURO 2021 is poised to be the biggest women's EURO to date, with over 700,000 tickets available to fans and extensive coverage of every game of the tournament available on free-to-air television, radio and online. Fans will be able to see some of the world's best players in action on home soil as 31 matches are played across 26 days of competition.

New York Stadium is one of ten grounds which will stage UEFA Women's EURO 2021. Other host venues include Bramall Lane, Old Trafford and Wembley. England, who reached the semi finals of the Women's World Cup in 2018, will be joined by 15 other nations, with qualifying running until October 2020.


Tony Stewart, chairman of Rotherham United, said: "We are incredibly proud to once again be given the chance to showcase the football club and the town at another high-profile international event. We have really enjoyed welcoming our friends from UEFA in previous years and we look forward to doing so again as the UEFA Women's European competition takes place next summer.

"Our involvement will not only help to continue to raise the profile of Rotherham United, but that of the town as a whole. It will be great to see so the region benefit from all the activity. I am sure many local businesses will also reap the rewards from the supporters attending both domestically and overseas.

"We are in fantastic company, it is a real honour and a testament to the wonderful facilities at the New York Stadium for us to have been selected to be involved with a tournament of this magnitude. The women’s game continues to grow in this country and it would be great if we could once again be involved with that, whilst also displaying the positive attributes that Rotherham United can offer in the process."

Throughout the tournament aspiring footballers, members of the public and visitors from across Europe will have the opportunity to get involved in a range of activities, as well as being able to watch the action live at the stadium.

Rotherham Council's Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Communities, Cllr. Sarah Allen, said: "Hosting the UEFA Women's Euro is a great opportunity for local girls and women to become involved in sport, offering them a chance to see inspiring female athletes on their doorstep. It’s also a chance for the town to showcase what Rotherham has to offer visitors, including our heritage sites, town centre and exciting new attractions such as the Gulliver’s Valley Theme Park resort.

"Most of all, it's a fantastic way for the Rotherham community to come together and celebrate."

Registration is open to find out more about tickets and volunteering opportunities.

RUFC website
The FA's EURO 2021 website

Images: The FA


Thursday, February 27, 2020

News: "Region’s largest car retailer" to be created in Rotherham


A recruitment drive which could run into the hundreds is underway in Rotherham as an expanding car retailer looks to pitch up in Yorkshire.

Indicators are that the UK's fastest growing car supermarket chain, the Trade Centre Group, is looking to take on the former Homebase unit at Parkgate, which has had a chequered history as a DIY retail location.

Headquartered in Neath, the company encompasses Trade Centre Wales and Trade Centre UK and originally had three showrooms throughout the South Wales region; Neath, Merthyr, and Abercynon, before expanding into the West Midlands. A former Homebase unit in Rochdale (pictured, above) was converted last year as the expansion continued North.

The Trade Centre UK's entry into Rochdale created 130 jobs and now recruitment is underway for a vast range of jobs at a new Rotherham site which promises a massive 1,200 cars on display.

Job roles include positions in sales, parts, the workshop, logistics and customer service.

The job advert reads: "A completely new car buying concept is coming soon to South Yorkshire!

"Based in Rotherham, Trade Centre UK will be the region’s largest car retailer with twelve hundred cars on display all ready to drive away in an hour!

"We're now recruiting great people to provide outstanding customer care across a variety of customer facing roles including reception, car sales, car finance, handover and warranty administration."


The Trade Centre Group, founded by Mark Bailey and 100% owned by the Bailey family, has expanded rapidly over the last four years, growing turnover from £77m in 2015 to £257m in 2018.

Rothbiz reported first that the Homebase store at the Northfields Retail Park at Parkgate would be closing. It was previously occupied by Bunnings having been purpose built for initial occupiers, B&Q.

After the 70,000 sq ft unit was closed by B&Q, numerous planning applications were approved in order to increase its attractiveness to potential occupiers. In 2017 this included an application that enables the site to operate as a car showroom which is not a main town centre use seen as entirely appropriate for the site.

The approval means that Trade Centre UK can use the existing building and the wider curtilige of the site (car park) for the sale and display of motor vehicles.

Trade Centre UK website

Images: Trade Centre UK


News: Rotherham car components site closure on the cards


Hydro is closing its car components facility in Rotherham as part of a wider restructuring of its Extruded Solutions operations.

The site on the Barbot Hall Industrial Estate is part of Hydro Components UK Ltd which offers surface finishing and mechanical fabrication solutions for the automotive industry. It specialises in aluminium fabrication.

Previously known as Sapa, Hydro is part of Norsk Hydro ASA, which is headquartered in Norway and one of the largest aluminium groups worldwide.

Hydro supplies to all UK based automotive manufacturers (Jaguar/Landrover, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Aston Martin etc) and also exports approximately 20% of its turnover into mainland Europe (Volvo, Fiat, BMW).

Bosses at the firm said last year that there was a negative demand in Europe and North America for its extrusions products driven by weak macroeconomic development. In response, the company announced that its Extruded Solutions subsidiary was "taking firm measures in weak markets."

These measures included restructuring in Europe and North America with the full closures of its sites in Pinto (Spain), Redditch (UK), Rotherham (UK), and American sites at Belton (South Carolina) and Kalamazoo (Michigan). Plus its warehouses in Wakefield (UK) and Lodz (Poland), and its Dusseldorf office (Germany). Divestment in Chisineu Cris (Romania) was also announced.

Business is set to be largely transferred to other sites and additional restructuring and cost reduction initiatives are under way. Hydro has a number of other sites in the UK, not least at Gloucester where plans are being progressed for an expansion in order to create a one stop shop automotive standard manufacturing facility with all key processes under one roof.


Underlying EBIT (earnings before taxes) for Extruded Solutions decreased in Q4 of 2019 compared to the same quarter last year, from NOK 202 million in Q4 2018 to NOK 85 million. Results in all business units were lower than the same quarter last year, mainly driven by lower volumes due to the declining market, partially offset by higher margins. Results were positively impacted by insurance compensation of NOK 187 million related to a cyber-attack in March 2019.

Hilde Merete Aasheim, president and CEO of Hydro, said: "We have taken firm measures in a weak market. Our improvement program as well as cash release ambition are ahead of plan. Our improvement efforts will continue with full force, in line with our agenda towards lifting profitability and driving sustainability."

The Rotherham site has been taken over a number of times. Back in 2010, Swedish aluminium manufacturer, Sapa, completed the acquisition of the automotive related integrated roof rail business from Thule. Sapa formed a 50/50 joint venture between Orkla and Hydro in 2013 before Norsk Hydro's acquisition of Orkla's 50% ownership in Sapa in 2017.

Hydro website

Images: Google Maps

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