Tuesday, January 19, 2010

News: Rotherham planners back Waverley proposals


The outline planning applications for two major parts of the massive redevlopment of Waverley in Rotherham have been recommended for approval.

The application for South Yorkshire's largest ever brownfield development creating a new 4,000 home community across 741 acres from UK COAL's property arm, Harworth Estates, and the application for a proposed government office campus from Helical Governetz are set to go before the planning board of Rotherham Council on January 25.

A report from Rotherham planners indicates that the Waverley outline application is recommended to be referred to the Secretary of State as it departs from the Unitary Development Plan as some land set for employment is to be used for housing. If the Secretary decides not to intervene, RMBC planners recommend that the planning permission is granted.

If granted, there are 25 parts to a section 106 agreement attached to ensure that the local area benefits from the development. These range from providing £11m for two primary schools and other financial contributions for new facilities such as playing pitches and a new link road. 21% of the 3890 houses need to be affordable.

There are also 51 conditions attached to the planning permission which cover usage, phasing, design, drainage, energy, transport and landscaping.

The report concludes: "The proposals, whilst not in accordance with the current UDP are generally in accordance with Regional and National policies and where they are not, reasoned justification has been given." The amount, and type, of housing it will create is given as the main reason for approval as well as the new services and facilities, the fact that a former colliery is being developed and the benefits secured through the section 106.

The Helical Governetz outline application for 60,000 sq m government office campus is also recommended for approval.

There is another section 106 agreement which mainly covers transport linked to a new interchange or money for other public transport and links to the proposed park & ride that needs to be developed before offices are fully occupied. A strategy also has to be submitted to enable local people to access subsequent job opportunities arising from the development.

There are also 50 conditions attached with the first stating that the first occupiers must be users wholly engaged in the provision of regional authority and government services and/or national government services. Another states that the transport interchange is in operation prior to the occupation of more than 10,000 sq ft of office space. Other conditions cover usage phasing, design, drainage, energy, transport and landscaping.

The report states that "the development accords to the Regional Spatial Strategy and national policy. The Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed development is of an appropriate scale; that no other sites are available. The development will not have a detrimental impact on town and city centres and that the site is accessible by public transport."

The objections from Sheffield Council are detailed, as are "serious concerns" from Creative Sheffield - they consider that the development will undermine Sheffield’s attempts to transform its city centre.

The developers have even assessed the Meadowhall site that Sheffield put forward as an alternative and shown why Waverley is in fact preferable.

The report concludes that "it is considered that the applicant has adequately demonstrated that there is a quantitative and qualitative need for the development, not least because there is insufficient Grade A floorspace available in any of the four towns and cities in South Yorkshire, but also because the proposals have an end user in mind."

The two proposals are expected to create over 7,000 jobs with a development phase of over 20 years.

Waverley Community website
Planning Board papers


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