Friday, September 4, 2020

News: Still standing


Applicants have failed to discharge a planning condition relating to the demolition of burnt-out buildings in Rotherham town centre.

Approved in 2019, plans would enable the Corporation Street buildings to be demolished and a 69 room hotel development built on the site.

The Council had been preparing a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in order to acquire the "eyesore" site and planners included a condition on approving planning permission that demolition of all existing buildings on the site shall be completed within 12 months of the date of the permission being granted.

The 12 months elapsed on August 30, and the buildings were still standing this week.

However, the applicants are set for a reprieve as a new planning bill rushed through by the Government to deal with the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak, provides for the extension of some planning permissions that have expired during the period. Where permission expired between August 19 2020 (when the provisions came into force) and December 31 2020, they are automatically extended to May 1 2021.

The former Envy nightclub building, which suffered a malicious fire in 2007, and Muskaan restaurant, which was closed after a fire in 2011, have been left empty ever since, and whilst not structurally unsafe, the buildings are widely acknowledged to be an eyesore.

The plans, from Rothgen Ltd, show the ground floor comprising of a 1,700 sq ft retail unit on the restaurant site with the hotel made up of a 1,990 sq ft restaurant / bar and a reception area plus meeting rooms and offices. Bedrooms would be on the first, second and third floors and the building is designed to step back as the levels rise.

2014 outline plans for residential apartments with retail on the ground floor never got past the pre-application stage. Just months after the Council announced plans for a CPO, agents submitted new plans for an apartment block on the site containing 64 flats - a mix of studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom units.

In 2018, the council's cabinet member dealing with the issue said that the owners of the buildings ought to be ashamed of themselves to leave them as a blight on the town centre.

Images: Tom Austen


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