Friday, May 6, 2011

News: YES! Project land goes up for sale


The site of the proposed £350m YES! Project at Pithouse West in Rotherham has been put up for sale by Rotherham Council after developers Oak Holdings made a material lack of progress.

The 135 Hectare (333 acre) site is a former opencast mine and is adjacent to Rother Valley Country Park. It is being advertised as a "Landmark Leisure / Tourism Development Opportunity" with "all concepts / proposals considered."

The delayed £350m proposal was set to create the largest undercover leisure based scheme in Europe but in January, Rotherham Council terminated the development agreement relating to the YES Project between RMBC, Oak Ventures Limited and Oak Holdings plc.

Oak entered into a preferred developer agreement with RMBC in respect of the YES Project in May 2003 and the development agreement was signed in August 2008. Outline planning approval was granted in 2007 and updated plans for outline planning were approved in September 2010.

Extreme sports specialist Venture Xtreme and golf driving range company Baydrive were the first tenants to sign up and in 2008 and Oak secured a deal with the Sheffield Steelers ice hockey team to develop a new state-of-the-art purpose-built arena on the site.

The plans also included an indoor climbing facility, ice climbing, snow room, diving centre, access mall and changing rooms plus a hydrodome complex, indoor surf centre, rope park pavilion, indoor sky diving, a Top Chip hall and a Via Ferratta (an adventure climbing system).

Further "experience" operations were also mentioned including a brewery experience, a food experience and academy and a chocolate experience.

In November 2010, the Council's Cabinet authorised officers to explore alternative options for the development of the Pithouse West site.

On terminating the developer agreement in January, Karl Battersby, strategic director of environment development services for Rotherham Borough Council, said: "This scheme has been running for over ten years and has not progressed as we would have wished. However, our intentions have not changed, and we are still of the view that the site has massive potential.

"We will be seeking other opportunities to bring forward a leisure based scheme of international significance on the site, complementary to Rother Valley Country Park."

RMBC website



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