Tuesday, November 17, 2020

News: Rotherham Council buys former Primark unit


Plans have been drawn up to change the look of Rotherham High Street through the demolition of the former Primark building.

Rothbiz revealed in September that Rotherham Council was eyeing up the prominent site as it looked to continue building new houses as the masterplan places an importance on enabling more people to live in the town centre.

The owners of the retail unit have sought a buyer for some time but without success, primarily due to the size of the building. It was advertised with a rental figure of £200,000 per annum exclusive and was put up for auction with a guide price of £500,000.

The Council has now purchased the site using funding from the Towns Fund Accelerator programme and plans would see the building demolished and replaced, in the short term, with a pocket park and a high-quality public space.

The Government awarded a £1m grant to kick start regeneration projects in Rotherham town centre.

As Rothbiz reported, longer term plans include developing the site for new town centre residential living.

In 2017, Primark announced plans to open a new store at Parkgate Shopping. A Guernsey-based real estate company, established at the same time as the Primark move was announced, has been responsible for paying the empty business rates on the property.

Cllr Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, said: "These are exciting and significant developments that will complement the work we are already undertaking to transform Rotherham Town Centre.

"The short-term plan, creating a pocket park, will help to create a more attractive area on the High Street and add to the leisure offer that is being developed to encourage families to socialise in attractive and diverse surroundings.

"Town centres across the country are having to adapt as their traditional uses start to change. We’re looking at what Rotherham town centre needs to thrive and that means thinking differently and looking at how people will live in and use the town centre in years to come. Long term residential plans for the site will contribute to the changes that we are delivering through the Town Centre Masterplan including three new housing developments and the leisure scheme at Forge Island."

Redevelopment of the site will start in early 2021 with the demolition of the building, which will be the subject of a planning application given its location within a conservation area.

The plans form part of the Town Centre Masterplan which includes £30m plus funding for three major housing developments at Wellgate, Westgate and Sheffield Road, as well as improvements to open spaces across College Street, Bridgegate, Howard Street and Effingham Street.

The £20m Rotherham Town Centre Investment Fund, which was establish by the Council to deliver the masterplan, is funding the town centre regeneration with further funding being sought from other sources including via the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority and the Government’s Future High Streets Fund and Transforming Cities Fund.

Images: RMBC / Allsop


Anonymous,  November 17, 2020 at 11:42 AM  

Not another town centre park, for god sake, what is the obsession with green space in town centre, we have clifton park virtually in town centre, no need for any more parks for low life's to congregate. As for future development into housing, please please please don't say they going to be simple houses, town centres should be places for quality multi storey apartment blocks, not back to back housing. Rotherham Council havent a clue how to run a large town, suggest they go look at developments in other towns cities to get some idea how its done. I despair 😵

Anonymous,  November 17, 2020 at 11:53 AM  

Better than a big empty unit with no hope of being filled any time soon.

Mr me November 17, 2020 at 11:55 AM  

Agree, everything Rotherham council do is so, small scale, then we wonder why other towns refer to Rotherham as "Toytown"!

Anonymous,  November 17, 2020 at 1:55 PM  

Great. Another place for the alchies to hang out and the druggies to deal. Are the people who make these decisions living on the same planet?

I'm sure it will be a temporary move until the Council works out how to use the site for slum housing which won't in any way shape or form contribute to the ghetto-like feeling inside Rotherham town centre.

Anonymous,  November 17, 2020 at 2:53 PM  

Can only hope that the Council's identity (as buyer) was not disclosed until after the price was fixed. Otherwise the owners, apparently desperate to 'get rid, may have got rather more than the site is worth.

royherbert November 17, 2020 at 3:07 PM  

Dismayed again, it's on the award winning High Street after Hambys transformed it, Then as soon as rmbc are involved again left to rot, they have driven out any semblance of retail in the town centre, what happened to the masterplan for a vibrant town centre, its more like Dodge city, I posted a while ago and suggested to use it for the new market site or library, but no let's knock it down and then redevelop the old market site after we've driven the traders out (like the imperial buildings) and have more boarded up empty units to look at, Clueless!

Anonymous,  November 17, 2020 at 3:27 PM  

What ever they eventually do with it, I hope it is truly accessible. The majority of buildings that have been 'brought back to life' on the High St are NOT accessible (even though the fronts were rebuilt). Conveniently ingored by the Council when singing its praises (not to mention against the law).

Ziggy,  November 17, 2020 at 4:23 PM  

"Pocket park" to be replaced....hmm, sounds like the plan for across from the Imperial Buildings - that never happened. Rotherham Council continue to be efficient at wasting taxpayer money on useless projects. Buildings demolished near Forge Island to make space.... soon enough they will raze a path from the High Street all the way through to Forge Island. I bet the building owner are laughing all the way to the bank having had market rate on a derelict building.

Anonymous,  November 17, 2020 at 4:26 PM  

Why is RMBC, officers and members, comprised entirely of morons and cretins with neither vision nor common sense. Another 'park' to house more junkies and alcoholics. Taking away the equivalent of perhaps 8 or 10 shop front units, and the footfall that would bring, is total nonsense. This is a High Street, purportedly the hub of a town's shopping area, so taking away the opportunity for retail will detract from the street and be detrimental to all other retailers in the area. There was a suggestion in the local paper a couple of months ago suggesting that this building be used for the town library, the town centre police station and an indoor market. This is much more sensible and would bring significant footfall to the High Street, benefiting all of the existing retailers and perhaps encouraging more of the empty shops on the street, and College Street, to attract occupants. More rates for the Council? How much business rates will the council lose with this barmy scheme? £300,000 to buy the building, £100,000 to demolish it and £100,000+ to landscape the area? Good use of council tax monies? NO. Get rid of the lot of them.

Anonymous,  November 17, 2020 at 9:14 PM  

A library or divide the space for local independent retailers would be a better idea.

Anonymous,  November 17, 2020 at 10:24 PM  

I'm embarrassed with Rotherham Town centre, the council should take a look up road at Doncaster and Barnsley, yes Barnsley!! For god sake, large multi storey developments, looks more like a city, when RMBC are trying there hardest to make Rotherham look like a village ghetto!

Anonymous,  November 18, 2020 at 5:11 PM  

to the morons talking about multi story blah blah blah - If you want to live in a city move to one and jog on!

Rotherham should have more parks and green spaces, if you bothered to look at recommendations for such you would see that there is a distinct lack. Times are changing and with people doing work remotely and increasingly staying at home these places become all the more important. There are many lovely old buildings in town mixed in with some godawful ones. Also why on earth would anyone want to own a "destination" shop in an inconvenient town when you can do it online? The future of Rotherham centre in my view needs to focus on the arts a theatre / gig venue would be good but more generally making the streets nicer. In the 1100s people were building cathedrals in 2000s it was tin sheds. We have to decide if that is enough? We can do better!

Mr me November 18, 2020 at 9:27 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous,  November 18, 2020 at 9:29 PM  

Rotherham town centre dosnt need more green spaces, it's got clifton park virtually in centre and green areas for miles down by river and canal.Get things built!

Anonymous,  November 20, 2020 at 10:08 AM  

We have a green space 1 minute walk away in the form of minster gardens, I seldom see anyone using it, I can’t see this being any different! Not being negative but the town centre has had it!

Anonymous,  November 23, 2020 at 11:34 AM  

Nicer spot for library than back of market.
If flats, maybe M&S could be persuaded to try M&S Food on ground floor.

Anonymous,  November 25, 2020 at 10:43 AM  

Only town centre housing development in recent years that is type a town centre should have, is the glass Keppel Wharf over looking river, quality that town centres usually have especially town centres blessed with a Riverside.More of this type required not terraced housing!

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