Wednesday, September 30, 2015

News: Employment sites in Rotherham's next cycle of growth


Rothbiz editor, Tom Austen picks out some of the key sites, both established and new, that have been identified in the Local Plan as being needed to meet the broad requirements of 12 - 15,000 additional jobs over the next 15 years.

The Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP)
So important to the borough, the city region and nationally, the AMP on the Waverley site gets its own planning policy. Home to both world-class research and manufacturing organisations, and smaller, emerging companies, the site is set to remain the UK's premier advanced manufacturing technology park. The policy restricts uses on the site to within "Classes B1(b) research & development / studios / laboratories / high-tech, B1(c) Light Industry; and B2 general industry (specifically advanced manufacturing / engineering) which can demonstrate that they contribute towards the advanced manufacturing and materials sector. Proposals for B1(a) offices will only be acceptable where they are ancillary to the main use of the Advanced Manufacturing Park."

The plans acknowledge that land on the AMP is running out and that it will play a key role in the proposed Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District. Two sites are proposed for economic development at Waverley (land remaining at the Advanced Manufacturing Park and land at Highfield Spring), totalling 36 ha. The Highfield Spring site is earmarked for the local centre which could contain retail, hotels and leisure facilities for the wider community.

Bassingthorpe Farm
Still a contentious issue with many residents, the 215 hectare area close to Rotherham town centre has been removed from the Green Belt and designated as a Strategic Allocation and the main location for new housing, employment and retail growth. 2,400 dwellings could be joined by 11 hectares for employment use.

Town Centre
Rotherham town centre is afforded some protection by national planning policies and is given the highest standing as the principal town centre, followed by outlying town centres, district centres and local centres. It is largely the same policies and sites in the initial draft that includes expanding the boundary to cover the new Tesco and identifying potential development sites at Forge Island, Drummond Street, the markets and Corporation Street. Mixed use areas are proposed at the New York area with housing now identified on the Westgate sorting office site and down Sheffield Road.

Todwick North
The nearly 30 hectare site at Todwick was the major new site put forward since the borough's employment land was last examined. Currently in the greenbelt, the agricultural land at Todwick roundabout on the A57 is being put forward for new offices and new commercial floorspace in the general industrial planning class, as well as the potential for some storage and distribution uses. It is hoped it will "attract major inward investment by accommodating one or more large users or through the development of smaller plots which comprise a high quality business park."

Former Maltby Colliery
Another area that gets its own planning policy, a further 24 ha of land is proposed here now that underground workings have ceased. The site includes a working railhead and links to the national grid due to Alkane's energy generation from coal mine methane. A masterplan will be required to ensure the comprehensive redevelopment of the site but the plan points to uses related to waste, energy and composting, stating that it is not suitable for more general employment uses. A pocket of development would ensure the remaining land stays in the Greenbelt.

The land adjacent to Parkgate Shopping Park has long been identified for development. Restricting an extension of the retail offer, the plan includes a policy that establishes that not less than 50% of built development should comprise B1 and B2 uses. Assembly and leisure uses will be acceptable but it specifically excludes cinema developments. Discussions are ongoing regarding a new link road to the site and the Tram Train pilot scheme presents an opportunity to provide park and ride facilities.

A new 16 acre site has been identified immediately South East of junction 1 of the M18 at the brilliantly named, Cumwell Lane. The preparation of a detailed Masterplan incorporating suitable design measures will be essential here and traffic issues relating to the proximity of the motorway have been identified.

Other significant employment areas include further sites at Templeborough and Dinnington, Mansfield Road at Aston, sites at Waleswood and a development site which extends the existing Kingsforth industrial estate in Thurcroft.

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: CPP


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