Thursday, June 11, 2020

News: Rotherham cinema plans set to be greenlit

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Plans for a long-awaited cinema in Rotherham town centre are set to be approved next week as part of the proposals for the multimillion pound Forge Island regeneration scheme.

The planning board at Rotherham Council are due to meet virtually on June 18 and are being recommended to approve the plans submitted by development partner, Muse.

Rothbiz premiered the detailed proposals back in March which set out in detail that the site of the former Rotherham Forge & Rolling Mills is set to be home to an eight screen cinema, a 69 bed hotel, four restaurants and car parking.

The Council-owned site of the former Tesco store will include the first phase on a podium above taking them higher than the 1 in 100 flood risk level. Adjacent Council-owned sites are set to feature a new café on the site of the current Riverside precinct with land by the river and on the former courts building earmarked for future residential phases.

The plans, submitted by WYG consultants, describe the cinema as "a keystone to the masterplan." It the largest building in the scheme at 25,000 sq ft and is positioned at the south of Forge Island. Either side of the cinema's foyer are two restaurant units (2,500 sq and 3,000 sq ft), which have the potential for mezzanine levels. Plans show five screens with between 125 and 143 seats and three smaller screens of between 50 and 83 seats.

The design approach developed by FaulknerBrowns Architects looked to the strong industrial heritage of the site which was historically home to a foundry and an iron works. The cinema design incorporates a saw-tooth roof profile with a metal cap and a robust brick podium base.

The four storey hotel at the north of the site has also been designed with a metal top and brick base in grey giving it a separate identity to the cinema. The top element is also clad in metal. The hotel building includes a foyer which connects through to a 40 cover café/bar area plus a separate 2,500 sq ft restaurant unit.

A separate building adjacent to the hotel is a further 5,400 sq ft restaurant in a prime position close to a new pedestrian bridge to connect Forge Island with the rest of the town centre.

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Historic England has raised concerns over the demolition of buildings on Corporation Street and the potential impacts of later residential blocks on the town's conservation area and views to the Minster and Chapel on the Bridge.

The council's planning officer concludes that the proposals represent that of less than substantial harm which are outweighed by their public benefits, such as supporting economic growth and regeneration in Rotherham town centre, and the regeneration of a previously developed site for a high-quality development.

Traffic issues have also been raised but officers have concluded that, even with a 340 space car park, there would be no net increase in trips during a weekday and some 92 No. additional two way trips are anticipated during Saturdays. This has been marked as acceptable although questions remain over the access to Bridge Street given the roundabout improvements nearby have only recently been completed and no data could be used to assess the impact of the proposals.

The findings are also set to address issues raised by Royal Mail who are concerned about possible delays to their delivery operations at the sorting office at Main Street

The proximity of the site to the rail and bus stations is also set to reduce car journeys from Rotherham to access leisure facilities by providing them in the town centre.  Cannon, the last town centre cinema, closed in 1990.

The report to the planning board concludes: "The regeneration of the Forge Island sites is a key part of the Rotherham Masterplan and development of these sites is of key significance to the regeneration of the town centre and will allow Rotherham to realise its vision for the town centre through diversifying the cultural offer. This will be achieved with the implementation of a high-quality designed development, that takes account of the surrounding historic environment and the history of the site itself, and active public spaces to create a new family friendly destination that is accessible to all."

Board members are being recommended to approve the plans with a number of conditions.

Images: Muse / RMBC / FaulknerBrowns

5 comments:

Anonymous,  June 11, 2020 at 7:41 PM  

Do we know who will operate the cinema and hotel ? Also any update on timescales?

Tim Stevenson,  June 11, 2020 at 11:31 PM  

Rotherham is a dump. A dead town full of nothing. Why on earth does it need another hotel? Rotherham is to be avoided not visited.

Anonymous,  June 12, 2020 at 10:43 AM  

Be surprised how many contractors work in Rotherham area, always need for hotels.

Unknown June 12, 2020 at 5:22 PM  

So, surely, the answer is to start making it better? Or do you just despise the town and want it to remain "a dump"?

Anonymous,  June 18, 2020 at 3:16 PM  

I reckon this place may prove popular and be packed all time as usual Rotherham gets something to small for town, why not 10 0r 12 screens? Same mistake was made with town centre leisure centre, far too small for a population in Central area. We shall see!

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