Wednesday, November 30, 2016

News: Delivering 2,000 new homes in Rotherham town centre


Rotherham Council is set to play a key role in delivering 2,000 new homes in Rotherham town centre as it takes on an "enabling and entrepreneurial role" in stimulating local housing growth.

As the regeneration of the town centre continues, and investments such as the £20m New York Stadium and heritage-led regeneration of the High Street, are added to with the potential leisure hub in Forge Island and university campus on Doncaster Gate, the emerging masterplan places an importance on enabling more people to live in the town centre.

Town centre living is seen as critical to sustaining the long term health of the town centre and is important in achieving around the clock vitality and vibrancy.

It has been seven years since the high profile Westgate Demonstrator Project was completed and developments like the Old Market and Keppel Wharf brought new apartments to the riverside. Further large scale developments have stalled, partly due to the credit crunch, and partly due to the removal of public sector funding that was used to make the investments less risky.

In the intervening years, housing projects have tended to be on a smaller scale, such as the renovation of the upper floors of the former Muntus store on the High Street. One recent project has seen local investors convert an office block previously used by Norton Finance.

Now, Rotherham Council is working on securing financial support from the Government and developing a proposed delivery model to help deliver 2,000 new homes in Rotherham town centre.


Updating councillors and commissioners, Tom Bell, interim assistant director of Housing and Neighbourhood Services Housing at Rotherham Council, said: "Developers, investors and housing associations are excited at the prospect of being involved in Rotherham's town centre repopulation, and private sector developers and estate agents have confidently predicted that demand for affordable housing in the town centre will be high, since there is no real "competition"; the only other wide-scale new build housing is taking place at Waverley, where the land values are higher and prices beyond the reach of many buyers. The town centre has the land available to deliver 2,000 new homes.

"Financial viability is an issue due to site constraints and values in the town centre. Left to its own devices, the private sector will not deliver the new housing required to regenerate Rotherham, and the Council therefore has a key role to play in making this happen."

12 sites have been identified that could deliver 1,000 homes in the next few years - the main contenders are detailed here.

The authority took the opportunity offered by the Government's £1.2 billion Starter Homes Programme to develop proposals and submit a bid for £32m to develop starter homes in the town centre. The outcome of the bid is still unknown and this is likely to be addressed in the forthcoming Housing White Paper that is set to be published in January.

Work continues on the challenge to close the viability gap via innovative financing and delivery arrangements.

Images: RMBC


Alex,  December 2, 2016 at 12:20 AM  

A good idea would be to invest in the schools, to make sure there were top performing schools in the area, then people of family age may want to live in the area.

Anonymous,  December 2, 2016 at 1:20 PM  

Their are top performing schools in Wickersley but most people can't afford to live their

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