Friday, March 6, 2020

News: Council cancels clause so Chambers conversion can continue


Rotherham Council has agreed to remove a buyback clause from its disposal deal for Westgate Chambers so that the new owners can carry on with the town centre regeneration project.

Renovation plans for Westgate Chambers were approved in 2018. A £10m scheme designed by Sheffield-based Self Architects involves the creation of a showcase commercial, retail and residential development that involves renovating six buildings that surround a landscaped internal courtyard, including a superb Georgian Grade II listed building, one of the oldest surviving historic structures in Rotherham town centre.

The buildings, close to the important regeneration site of Forge Island, were bought by the Council in 2006 but the authority's own redevelopment efforts were hit by the economic downturn and a removal of Government funding. The new scheme, by Peter Hill of developers HMP Bespoke Construction Ltd, is providing high quality retail, leisure and commercial space at street level with contemporary apartments above.

Rotherham Council agreed to sell the Westgate complex in 2014. As part of the sale, a number of clauses were inserted in the contract of sale including a clause for the Council to buy back the property if sufficient progress was not made.

Council documents show that Hill has asked for the removal of this clause, as it is hindering his attempts to secure further finance for the development.

An executive decision was recently made to remove the clause which "should allow the developer to deliver the regeneration of Westgate Chambers more quickly."


Peter Hill, director of HMP Bespoke Construction Ltd, said: "We are entering a new phase of works as part of the planned five-year build programme. We are looking forward to the development moving forward with the additional regeneration of Rotherham town centre, bringing in new restaurants, entertainment and leisure facilities to help new residents to live, work, rest and play and most importantly creating new town centre jobs."

With previous work concentrating on the 29 apartments in the Main Street/Westgate section, the next phase of works includes the demolition of two 1960's buildings on Domine Lane to make way for a modern block of 32 new apartments.

Simon Moss, assistant director for planning, regeneration and transport at Rotherham Council, said: "Regeneration of the town centre not only means constructing new buildings, it is also important to remember our heritage by restoring historical buildings like Westgate Chambers so that they continue to be used by residents.

"One of the Council's key priorities is to help local people and businesses benefit from a growing economy, with a thriving town centre and more people living, working and spending their leisure time here."

The historic listed part of the complex was originally constructed in 1794 by local architect, John Platt as a residence for himself. Platt sold the house in 1808 but remained in occupation until his death in 1810. Part of the house was demolished when Main Street was constructed.

Images: Self Architects


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