Wednesday, September 30, 2015

News: Local Plan key to Rotherham's economy


Rotherham is currently lacking the large development sites that can be the focus for major job growth in the next cycle but the latest part of the Local Plan aims to change that.

The plan includes the Core Strategy - which sets out the broad amount and distribution of future growth - and the Sites and Policies document - which sets out the detailed sites and development management policies to deliver this growth.

Consultation is now underway on the version of Rotherham's Sites and Policies document that the Council intends to submit to the Government. It includes the proposed sites that will form Rotherham's planning blueprint for the next 15 years where 235 hectares of land will be needed over the period to meet the broad requirements of 12 - 15,000 additional jobs.

39 sites have been allocated for employment use, providing some 269 hectares of land compared to the target of 235 hectare in the Core Strategy. These include established sites such as the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and Manvers and new sites at Bassingthorpe Farm, Todwick North, Hellaby and Dinnington.

A background paper on employment land published as part of the consultation explains: "In terms of ensuring a deliverable supply, Rotherham currently lacks the number of major, straightforward to develop sites which it needs to re-capture the employment growth it benefitted from in the 1998-2008 period. Updating its employment land supply could usefully address this shortcoming."

Rotherham was the only authority area in South Yorkshire to grow net private sector jobs between 1998 and 2008 with some 8,319 created. This jobs growth was primarily centred around the Manvers development in the Dearne Valley with a number of smaller supporting sites around the borough. The Council has set itself the task of identifying "the next Dearne Valley."

The documents discuss the impact of the global recession and the removal of public funding that was used successfully to regenerate brownfield (mainly former coalfield) land for employment uses in Rotherham.

It adds: "In order for Rotherham to recreate the level of private sector jobs growth in the next growth cycle alternative sites and a new approach to financing and supporting development is required. Given the current austerity measures and the strain on public sector finances, sites with relatively few constraints (such as remediation and access issues) that don't require significant investment to make them market attractive are required."

The types of jobs that need to be supported is also discussed: "Given the current issue with low skill levels in Rotherham and the need to tackle joblessness in the deprived neighbourhoods it is important that Rotherham's job growth reflects the need for high volume low skilled employment, whilst still developing the skill base for local people to take advantage of the lower volume high skills positions available at locations such as the AMP.

"This creates an issue as the AMP is likely to reach capacity in the next growth cycle. The Sheffield City Region and Rotherham need to identify new sites to allow this nationally important centre of excellence to continue to grow but Rotherham also needs to find a large site(s) that can accommodate high volume low skilled jobs. The current land supply in Rotherham isn't sufficient to do both at this time."

Developers and landowners have come forward with a number of sites including those currently in the Greenbelt - 16 hectares have been identified at Cumwell Lane, Hellaby, near J1 of the M18, and 19 hectares at Waleswood near J31 of the M1. The 30 hectare site at Todwick North, identified in the last round of consultation is also highlighted as a key site.

Details of some of the key sites can be found here.

Consultation on the sites and policies runs to November 9 2015 before being submitted to the Government for public examination by an independent planning inspector.

Rotherham Council website

Images: RMBC


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