Wednesday, July 24, 2024

News: Plans in for £11m Rotherham regeneration project

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A planning application is on the table outlining a £11m regeneration project in Rotherham centred around Dinnington's market.

In last year's Budget, the government announced that Rotherham will receive £20m for regeneration for Wath and Dinnington. It came after earlier bids for funding for the schemes were turned down twice.

At Dinnington, the project will replace old buildings and market stalls with six new commercial units and a large building, which could be used by the community and for commerce. These buildings will overlook a landscaped town square that will be home to new market stalls, that will be stored when not in use.

The project will also open up a direct route from the bus station and car parks and create a clearer and safer gateway to Laughton Road.

Drawn up by AHR Architects and Oobe Landscape Architects, the plans confirm: "The proposal is to demolish the burnt-out building, the indoor market, the outdoor market, the colliery band building, and half of the shopping parade (36 - 44 Laughton Road). These structures will be replaced with six new commercial units, a pop-up market, a new commercial / community building to be used for public rental, and a fully landscaped area of public realm to create a new market square and clear routes between Laughton Road, the bus station, and well-used car parks.

"The remaining half of the shopping parade will be refurbished to complement the rest of the regeneration project."

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The plans state that the private sector has failed to address the declining physical infrastructure around the market and that businesses and residents are increasingly frustrated with the situation.

The plans add: "The Council's sustainable approach to uplifting the area will be centred on repurposing underused brownfield land and derelict buildings alongside investment in public realm to increase footfall to sustainable levels and restore a sense of pride of place.

"The Council is optimistic that this major capital investment in high quality place making and investment in local amenities will increase confidence in the area and drive a more competitive market."

Seen as vital to rejuvenating Dinnington town centre, new commercial units, refurbished retail units, a pop-up market offer, a commercial / community building and improved public realm are included.

Interest in the new units is expected to be high with letting costs being set at a fair market rate by the council. Consideration is expected to be given to the types of retailers applying to let the new units to ensure there is a broad range of retail and that units are open during daytime hours.

Rothbiz reported recently that Rotherham Council has been carrying out a pre-tender exercise to engage with the construction industry to establish the level of interest in the redevelopment projects, which are due to be completed in 2026.

Plans for Wath, which centre around replacing the town's library, were submitted earlier this month.

RMBC website

Images: RMBC / AHR

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News: Pricecheck reports strongest financial year

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Pricecheck, an international wholesaler and distributor of fast-moving consumer goods, has reported its strongest financial year to date.

The company, which has its main warehouse facility at Beighton Link and further space at Manvers, both in Rotherham, smashed through its ambitious target of £100m turnover by 2020 and has now broken three financial records, achieving its best month, quarter and year ever recorded - all in the same week.

Trusted by the world's biggest brands, Pricecheck offers more than 6,000 branded products to customers in the UK and to more than 80 countries globally.

After a year of challenges and opportunities, Pricecheck finished 2023/24 with a turnover of £151m - growth of 15% on the previous financial year.

Sales for the final quarter reached £44m, which was 22% higher than the same period last year.

April saw the biggest month ever with revenue of £17.2m – a figure that once represented Pricecheck's annual turnover just 16 years ago, when joint managing directors and brother and sister duo, Mark Lythe and Debbie Harrison, took over the reins of the business from their parents.

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A spokesperson for Pricecheck said: "This is our 10th consecutive year of growth, and is one that has been driven by our expanding services. Our core offering of delivered wholesale remains the biggest contributor to turnover but the launch of new supplier partnerships, an increase in digital sales and developments within brand distribution continue to push our business forward.

"In the past 10 years, we’ve diversified from a delivered wholesaler across toiletries and household into a multi-category, multi-channel brand distributor. And there are plenty of new categories and markets to explore.

"To hit growth targets consistently for a decade is no easy task, but the Pricecheck team love a challenge! With a focus on improving efficiencies, innovation and people development – we’re excited to see what we can achieve in the year ahead."

Pricecheck's vision is to be the first-choice distribution partner for brand owners and customers across the world. It aims to continue to grow with ambitious plans to increase turnover to £200m.

Pricecheck website

Images: Pricecheck

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Monday, July 22, 2024

News: Owners plan to expand Parkgate with new foodstore

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Parkgate Shopping, the 2nd largest purpose-built retail warehouse park in the UK, could get even bigger if plans are approved for a new foodstore on the Rotherham retail park.

Having acquired the park for around £60m, new owners, Columbia Threadneedle, have assessed the potential for expansion when the delayed £12m link road and Park & Ride completes later this year.

A new outline planning application has been submitted for land next to Matalan which is currently used as a Park & Ride for the tram-train.

With the relocation of the Park & Ride to a larger facility when the road opens, the new proposal is for a 20,000 sq ft rectangular unit "that is the required format of food retailers in order to provide linear aisle for convenience goods shopping."

The applicant is Sackville UK Property Select IV Nominee (1) Limited and Sackville UK Property Select IV Nominee (2) Limited c/o Threadneedle Portfolio Services Ltd.

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The plans discuss that it will be a national multiple food retailer that will be the new tenants, with the proposed store employing circa 50 full-time equivalent staff members.

No occupier is named but an analysis of the current market submitted with the application by agents, Savills, states that this size of store is popular with secondary foodstores including Waitrose, M&S and Co-op, and discount foodstore retailers including Aldi and Lidl.

As the site is classed as out of town, a retail assessment and sequential test is also included.

Sequential tests ensure that development is located in the most sustainable location first (usually in town centres), before other, less sustainable locations are chosen.

The analysis concludes that are no suitable alternative sites in nearby town centres, highlighting that vacant buildings like the Howard Building or former bingo hall on Corporation Street in Rotherham town centre do not lend themselves to retail requirements.

When assessing the potential impact of the range of convenience goods proposed to be sold from the new foodstore at Parkgate on established town centres, the applicants say that "the only centre that the proposed development diverts trade from is Rotherham town centre," adding that: "the impact on convenience goods floorspace will be 3.1%, which cannot be characterised as significantly adverse under any reasonable threshold."

The principal location in the town centre that the proposal will draw trade from is the Tesco Extra store on Drummond Street. Analysis shows that the impact of the proposal on that store is 2.8%, which is considered minimal.

New analysis puts the Tesco Extra trading at £71.98m at 2029, double the estimate of £29.6m in a 2017 study. The proposed foodstore at Parkgate has an expected turnover of £16.86m at 2029.

Applicants add that the new proposal would not have a significant adverse impact on the Forge Island or markets redevelopments.

The plans state: "The impact of the proposal on existing convenience goods retail facilities in centres is not significantly adverse. The impact of the proposal on defined centres when taken as a whole is not significantly adverse. This conclusion is not considered be unusual [sic] given the modest scale of the foodstore proposed.

"Further, the ambition for Rotherham is for the revitalisation of that centre as a leisure-led location. The proposal has no impact on this ambition.

"The proposal will enhance convenience goods provision in the local area, affording local residents a greater choice of convenience goods shopping facilities. It will provide a modest foodstore at an accessible site in close proximity to surrounding residential areas."

Parkgate Shopping website

Images: Columbia Threadneedle / Harris Partnership / Google Maps

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News: Sheffield heat network set to expand into Rotherham

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Plans are in the pipeline for E.ON's Don Valley heat network to double in size, potentially bringing low carbon heating to a key economic site in Rotherham.

The district heating scheme in the Lower Don Valley is currently powered by E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows renewable energy plant which uses biomass to provide a source of heating to connected buildings.

E.ON’s latest proposals would add around 10km to expand the 8km pipe network which is already providing heat to businesses, including IKEA UK, Forgemasters' and Ice Sheffield and Sheffield Arena.

An indicative route south of the current network shows how it could extend from Sheffield Arena to take in Tinsley's industrial estates and Sheffield Business Park before crossing the Parkway to connect to the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

Chris Lovatt, Chief Operating Officer for E.ON’s Energy Infrastructure Solutions business, said: “Whether it’s combating the climate crisis, cleaning the air in city streets, or weaning the UK off fossil fuels to avoid the impact of volatile global gas markets, we need to find new, cleaner ways of heating our homes and businesses. Heat networks like ours in the Lower Don Valley allow us to do that.

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“We are the playmakers in creating a more sustainable UK through projects like this, and with Sheffield’s bold steps to become a zero-carbon city by 2030 we’re looking to expand the route of our district heat network to play a role in that ambition. As part of our ongoing investment in the city we’ll be looking to create more than 2,000 green jobs in the region as well as improving public spaces – leaving every space we touch better than when we found it.”

Heat networks are a more efficient and more cost-effective way of providing heat to built-up areas by producing and distributing heat from a central source instead of individual boilers in each property.

District heating networks will play a critical role in decarbonising cities. Heat networks currently provide 3% of the heat demand in the UK, with that number potentially growing to 20% nationwide by 2050 to support the move towards net zero.

A formal planning application could be submitted to Sheffield City Council towards the end of Summer, with E.ON hosting a number of consultation events, including at Catcliffe Memorial Hall on July 25.

Last year, Rotherham Energy Limited secured £25m to build a new Rotherham Energy Network eminating from the £150m biomass power station at Templeborough.

E.On website

Images: E.On

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Friday, July 19, 2024

News: First visitors stay over at new Rotherham Travelodge

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The new multimillion pound Travelodge in Rotherham town centre has hosted its first overnight visitors ahead of an official opening.

The rest of the Forge Island development has reached the fit out stage.

Forge Island is the town centre's new landmark leisure destination being delivered by Rotherham Council in partnership with Muse. The £47m development includes an 8-screen boutique cinema operated by The Arc Cinema, a 69-roomed Travelodge Hotel as well as six independent restaurants on the riverside, including The Rustic Pizza Company, Estabulo, and Sakku Samba.

The hotel, the first Travelodge in the borough, has been bookable for stays since May and reviews on TripAdvisor describe a "pristine brand new hotel" and pick out the welcoming staff for praise.

The four storey hotel has been built by Bowmer + Kirkland on the north of the Forge Island site close to Rotherham Central station. It was designed with a metal top and brick base in grey. The new Rotherham hotel is in Travelodge's new-build budget luxe hotel brand, incorporating the new Bar Café concept offering unlimited breakfast, tasty evening meals and fresh barista coffee.

Standard rooms (with new décor and signature king size "Dreamer" bed) are priced at £68.99 for the saver rate and £75.99 for the flexible rate.

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With Rotherham Council stumping up the money for the whole scheme, "significant slippage" on its progress was reported at the end of 2023 but a recent update to the council's cabinet states that "delivery on site has progressed further than anticipated."

Construction is complete on the Forge Island cinema, which was handed over for fit out in May 2024 prior to a planned summer opening. The food and drink units were handed over on July 1 2024.

Arc Cinemas, which has been recruiting for a general manager, recently provided a sneak peek of the new cinema, the first in Rotherham for over 30 years. The update on social media showed signage on the exterior and work to create the screens inside.

State-of-the-art facilities will offer the ultimate blockbuster experience, while smaller screens provide a more intimate movie watching atmosphere. All screens feature VIP electric recliner seats as standard.

The next phase of regeneration in the area is the delayed Riverside Gardens scheme. A first stage contract has now been let and subject to costs, a full contract is expected to be agreed in September 2024.

Using a mixture of soft and hard landscaping, Riverside Gardens is creating a gateway to Forge Island on an area extending from the demolished Riverside Precinct, covering the old abattoir site behind Market Street and passing the Old Market, Keppel Wharf and Westgate Chambers residential developments. Corporation Street is also getting a revamp.

Travelodge website
Forge Island website

Images: Tom Austen / Arc Cinemas / Facebook

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