Friday, July 28, 2017

News: Fire at historic Rotherham building


The Howard Building, the derelict former college building in Rotherham town centre, has suffered a large fire which could mean that redevelopment plans have also gone up in smoke.

One person was rescued using a ladder as at least four fire engines attended the scene on Howard Street after being called at 8:40 this morning. The ambulance service and South Yorkshire Police also attended the scene.

Now suffering from vandalism and damaged even before today's fire, the prominent four storey building opened in the 1930's. It previously operated as part of the college and also housed the council's environmental health teams and a day nursery before being sold prior to going to auction in 2014.

Revised plans to convert the historic building into self-contained studios and apartments were approved by the planning board at Rotherham Council in 2015.

With little evidence of the conversion into twelve, one bed apartments and 60 studio apartments at "Howard Residencies", applicants, AVRO Developments headed into insolvency, with Rotherham Council leading the petition in 2015 to have the company wound up - likely to be for non-payment of business rates.

Cllr. Emma Hoddinott, cabinet member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety at Rotherham Council, tweeted how she was "angry about how private owner has let this happen" adding that the "council has already taken enforcement action against them."


Crown Union Ltd and DS7 Ltd submitted plans earlier this year to amend the scheme but they have not yet been approved. A company called 2380 REVERSIONS LTD is now responsible for paying rates on the building.

AVRO, Crown Union Ltd, DS7 Ltd and 2380 REVERSIONS LTD all share directors and links to previous "dubious" property investment schemes.

Rothbiz reported last year how the Rotherham scheme is linked to Absolute Living Developments, Fresh Start Living and Empirical Property, all highlighted in the media as leaving buy-to-let investors out of pocket.

Howard Residencies is currently being offered as an investment opportunity by Crown Union. It is offered as an "Ideal purchase for investors looking at UK Buy To Let's as a way of getting onto the first rung of the property investment ladder. From dynamic apartment layouts to classic period fa├žade and stonework surrounds, this redevelopment brings together Rotherham past and present to create a truly unique place to live for post-graduates, young professionals & key workers."

Starter pads and 1 bed apartments are being offered at £51,449 and £72,049 with an 8% ROI per annum.

Although not listed, the Howard Building is however highlighted in Rotherham Civic Society's local list of buildings which are considered to be of definite quality and character. It reads: "Built at a cost of £87,000, of which £9,000 was contributed by the Miners Welfare Committee, it was designed by Messrs Scott & Sons of Norwich. Although built primarily of red brick it incorporates probably the most extensive use of Portland Stone of any building in the Town Centre."

Images: Tom Austen / SYFR


Mr me July 28, 2017 at 1:27 PM  

Redevelopment plans.Yeah Oak,Inside job springs to.mind !

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