Friday, October 27, 2017

News: Fly through new £50m Rotherham retail scheme


Joint developers Harworth Group plc and Dransfield Properties Ltd have welcomed the unanimous backing of the planning board at Rotherham Council for their £50m retail, office and leisure scheme at Waverley in Rotherham.

Rothbiz reported last week that the application was being recommended for approval by Council planners. And so it was - the members of the board voting eleven for and 0 against, having heard how the benefits will outweigh any negative impacts.

The plans will now be referred to the Secretary of State's National Planning Casework Unit for a final sign off.

The applicant stated at the meeting that work could get underway in June between the residential and commercial developments at the regeneration site on the former Orgreave coking works. Construction would take an estimated 72 weeks.


Known as Waverley Square, the plans are for "the piece of the jigsaw" creating a local centre for residents and businesses. It includes some 100,000 sq ft of retail space including a 20,774 sq ft foodstore; high spec office space covering 38,285 sq ft; restaurants, coffee shops and a gym; a medical and community facility covering 11,464 sq ft; and a small bus station.

Owen Michaelson, chief executive of Harworth Group plc, said: "This is a key development for Rotherham and for the Sheffield city region in that it will create the sort of high-quality local facilities that both businesses at the Advanced Manufacturing Park and local residents increasingly expect. Waverley is growing into a prominent placemaking destination in the region and these facilities will further attract new residents and businesses to live and work at the development."

Mark Dransfield, managing director of Dransfield Properties, added: "We are delighted that our application for Waverley has now been approved by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

"We have been keen from the outset to design a genuinely outstanding scheme befitting of Waverley, with architecture and materials to match. With the combined experience and knowledge of our two companies we are confident we will deliver an excellent scheme for Waverley to serve this growing community over the next two and a half years."

The planning board heard how the applicants had worked with Council planners to bring forward a scheme as the retail, commercial property and housing sectors had changed since the outline approval of the Waverley scheme in 2010. The application site had originally been envisaged as becoming home to a large Government office campus.

Working with South Yorkshire architects Dixon Dawson, the bus station in the scheme draws architectural inspiration from Kings Cross, whilst rooftop space draws inspiration from the High Line public space in New York. Overall the scheme is very similar to Dransfield's Fox valley scheme in Stocksbridge.

Nigel Hancock, assistant planning manager at Rotherham Council, told the board: "This is a large mixed use centre, a large development. It's in an out of town location and it is for some town centre uses. So it does need some careful consideration.

"The applicant themselves have shown a willingness to adapt the scheme and worked very hard with us to overcome our original concerns."

Objections had been received, mainly from local residents raising concerns regarding traffic, parking and operating hours.

Variations were made as the Council was concerned over the impact on other town centres, including Rotherham town centre. The planning permission comes with a number of conditions over the gross retail floorspace, net comparison goods floorspace, and a restriction over the range of comparison goods to be sold.

The application states that the development could create 700 full-time equivalent jobs and generate business rates in the region of approximately £1.5m once fully occupied.


Mark Dransfield spoke at the board meeting. He told members: "This has been the subject of 18 months work of our company and consultants and we have worked very closely with members and officers. We do take our position in our community very seriously and we have consulted with residents, town councils and MPs. We have listened to what people have had to say and the scheme has changed significantly since we first started.

"We are aware of the residents' concerns and hopefully we can allay some of those fears, maybe not all, but we will do our utmost to do that. We are acutely aware that those are our customers as well so we would not want to do anything that would offend our residents.

"We appreciate also that you are concerned about the health of Rotherham town centre. We as a company objected to Meadowhall vehemently because my company is "town centre first" and whilst it is treated at the moment as an out of town application, I believe that this is a local centre and we will be servicing a local need here.

"Just to give you some names - Martin's Newsagents, Timpson's, Domino's, Home Bargains, Boots, Iceland, Vets4Pets, Specsavers. They are all in your town centres and they are not going to come out of the town centre because we are putting them in here. This services, in our understanding, a different catchment."

At the same meeting, plans were also approved for Coda's innovative plans for new style back to back housing on the Waverley site.

Harworth Group plc website
Dransfield website

Images: Harworth / Dransfield


Rod October 27, 2017 at 6:10 PM  

Rotherham 'town centre' died many years ago thanks to the lacklustre councillors it has been unfortunate to have running it. It's a far cry, sadly, from the days of John Speed, Muntus, Brittains, Hastings, Joseph Peck, Brooks, Russum's, ...

Anonymous,  October 29, 2017 at 5:04 PM  

Yes definitely absolutely nothing in town can't see any light at the end of the tunnel

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