Thursday, January 21, 2021

News: Rotherham Council preparing objection to latest Meadowhall plans


Rotherham Council is unhappy with plans for a revised scheme at nearby Meadowhall in Sheffield.

The authority's planners are concerned over the negative impact of the proposals on a "fragile" Rotherham town centre and the proposed leisure-led regeneration scheme at Forge Island.

Rothbiz reported last year that stalled plans for a new £300m, 330,000 sq ft Leisure Hall development at Meadowhall had been scaled back.

A phased approach was instead outlined with a number of elements including a £150m leisure hall development on the existing car park to include quality leisure space and a new aspirational food and drink offer. "Big Box" retail is outlined for land near to the Next Home store, and plans are for the warehouses and land between Meadowhall and Vulcan Road to be converted to create temporary indoor and outdoor leisure space.

The initial plans for a larger multi-level extension housed under a glazed roof on land currently used for car parking were approved in 2018 despite an objection from Rotherham Council, that stated that it would have a "significant adverse impact upon the vitality and viability of Rotherham town centre."

In responding to the latest plans, Rotherham Council said: "The impact test has significantly downplayed the level of public sector investment in the Rotherham town centre and the Forge Island Scheme, together with the continued fragility of town centre, particularly in light of the Covid pandemic.

"Rotherham MBC consider that further assessment should be carried out as part of the Impact Tests to assess the impact of the development upon the vitality and viability of Rotherham Town Centre, the planned investment in the Forge Island site and existing investment across the remainder of the town centre in terms of the proposed retail and leisure uses.

"If this assessment is not carried out RMBC wish to formally object on the grounds that insufficient information exists to fully assess the impact of development on Rotherham town centre and Forge Island site."

Consultants on the Meadowhall plans, Quod, stated: "In the case of Rotherham, a proposal to deliver a new cinema, hotel and F&B [food & beverage] units at the Forge Island have progressed through a planning application (granted in June 2020) which has come forward in the full knowledge of TLH [The £300m Leisure Hall]. There is no suggestion that the revised proposals at Meadowhall would undermine the delivery of Forge Island, given that the proposals are similar (and no more) than that previously promoted in TLH.

"A cinema operator has been secured and the F&B market interest in the scheme is determined by the other uses, i.e., a cinema and a hotel. Consequently, there is no evidence to suggest that the scheme will undermine investor confidence in Forge Island – as has previously been accepted by SCC [Sheffield Council]."

The plans add that "the impact on wider leisure uses within Rotherham town centre will be limited. The town centre currently has no cinema or other family leisure uses. Such provision is located out-of-centre which are afforded no planning policy protection. The evening economy of the town centre is focused on pubs and clubs, which fundamentally differs to that being proposed at [Meadowhall]."

Plans argue that the new Meadowhall proposal is designed to be "more aspirational in order to set it apart" and could result in "national brands that are keen to get market share but are not always seen to have a place in the more aspirational tenant line-ups" looking elsewhere in the region. "Examples of such operators include Nandos, Pizza Express, Café Rouge and TGI Fridays."

Consultants add: "The existing limited F&B offer in Rotherham town centre (particularly in relation to family-themed restaurants) provides further comfort that there will be demand for such uses as part of the scheme coming forward at Forge Island" and conclude that "there is nothing to demonstrate that the revised proposals at TMM [The Meadowhall Masterplan] is unlikely to undermine planned investment in Rotherham town centre."

Regarding impact, Quod say that the "impact on Rotherham is limited, reflecting the limited overlap between Meadowhall and Rotherham, as has previously been acknowledged and recognised when SCC permitted the extant TLH scheme." When approving the £300m proposals in 2017, planners at Sheffield Council agreed that it will "undoubtedly have a negative impact on Rotherham's town centre which is already in a fragile state."

The latest estimates are that the new scheme will negatively impact Rotherham town centre but to a lesser extant than the initial proposals. The impact of the proposals on the turnover of Rotherham town centre is calculated at -0.8% in 2025.

The applicants conclude: "The low levels of impact identified under all scenarios will not undermine the long-term vitality and viability of Rotherham town centre, which will continue to provide an important role in meeting some of the needs of the local catchment population, including a convenience retail sector."

Images: British Land / Google Maps


RichGods January 21, 2021 at 1:14 PM  

Yet again, Sheffield does not care about surrounding towns. Selfish and out for itself. They admitted it will have a negative impact on Rotherham but still push it through. If this really is a City region they need to take note of the Region word nit just the City.

Anonymous,  January 21, 2021 at 1:51 PM  

Just heard today it’s changing it’s name after local elections to something like ‘South Yorkshire combined authority’
Doubt very much that will change the status quo!

Anonymous,  January 22, 2021 at 2:43 PM  

Just more traffic congestion more pollution an no doubt motorists will end up paying some sort of pollution charge. Just another council adding to high traffic volumes when the surrounding roads are at capacity already. There's never any thought into that only afterwards when motorists get stung for the added air an noise pollution costs.
just saying

Anonymous,  January 22, 2021 at 10:14 PM  

Sheffield has always thought of itself as a cut above Rotherham look at the HS2 fiasco if it ever gets built. Sheffield the big steel producer when actually a lot of steel production was in Rotherham, Steel Peech and Tozer land crossed over into Rotherham. It does not help when Rotherham companies state a Sheffield address, nevermind wawaw

Supported by:
More news...

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP