Tuesday, May 21, 2013

News: Heritage regeneration to continue in Rotherham town centre


A heritage-led regeneration scheme on the High Street in Rotherham town centre is set to continue as funding is secured for another year.

The £3m Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) is supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Rotherham Borough Council. The Rotherham District Civic Society raised concerns that the lottery cash was under threat but £1.4m has been carried over in the council's capital budget for this financial year.

The project sees property owners and long term lease holders secure grants enabling them to restore, renovate and repair their historic buildings which are all within a conservation area. The aim is to encourage new shops, apartments and businesses to locate in the town centre.

A report to the council's cabinet said: "Spend on the project had been deferred pending a decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund that they would extend grant payment beyond the original agreed period. Confirmation of the decision to grant the Council an extension was received at the end of March and the project can now be completed."

Funding has also been approved for improvements to the public realm on the High Street and around the Minster.

One key project is halfway through a successful rehabilitation. Local businessman, Chris Hamby announced ambitious plans for a complex of mixed-used retail outlets focusing on listed buildings on the High Street.

The plan is backed by a £750,000 long term capital finance loan from Rotherham Council that has secured £677,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) for additional, much needed works to the listed buildings.

Hamby opened an outlet for ladies and gents footwear, handbags and leather goods at 19 High Street with Sophisticakes upmarket tea room at No. 17. Work is now taking place in No. 21 for "Things That Boys Like" bringing men's clothing, gadgets and gifts to the town as an offshoot from sister store, Yella Brick Road.

Plans have also been approved for a comprehensive refurbishment of the Georgian Town House, that now contains the remains of the Italian restaurant at 29A High Street. It was once occupied by the Badger family, a notable family of solicitors and lawyers. A new Victorian shop frontage and Doric door will be installed with the upper floors converted into flats.

Work is also progressing on the grade 2 listed George Wright building, an early 19th century former office built in a Tudor Revival style. It requires a new roof, new windows and some of the brickwork needs replacing.

The building was famously occupied by George Wright & Company in the 1800's who designed and manufactured elaborate stoves and fireplaces. It is hopefully set to open as a pub and restaurant.

Work is also needed on the former Three Cranes Inn that occupied a timber framed building dating back to the 15th Century. The grade 2* listed building is on English Heritage's "at risk register" as showing signs of structural decay and faulty rainwater goods.

Images: Tom Austen


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