Tuesday, June 1, 2021

News: Regeneration plans involve wrecking ball for bingo hall


Just a month after operators confirmed the closure of a popular Rotherham bingo hall, redevelopment plans have been unveiled for the prominent site.

Rothbiz reported in May that Mecca Bingo had confirmed that its venue on Corporation Street in Rotherham town centre was closing permanently.

The Rank Group, which owns Mecca, has seen venues closed during the Covid pandemic as a result of lockdowns, tiering closures and curfews, with revenues halved and losses incurred.

The property sold at auction in 2019 for £575,000 and with Mecca's lease due to expire this year, plans have now been submitted that would see the 26,000 sq ft property knocked down.

Applicants, Sunshine Homes Ltd, want to erect a residential building consisting of 45 dwellings and three ground floor commercial units.

The art deco building, which originally opened in December 1934 as the Regal Cinema, is not listed and planning documents explain that: "The initial intention was to explore options for a residential conversion of the existing building, however having assessed these options in detail it was clear that a conversion was simply not a viable proposal. As such it was concluded that the only real option was for a new build approach."

The site is within the town centre conservation area and plans have evolved as council officers discussed the impact on the setting of Rotherham Minster and the Chapel of our Lady, and in particular the protection of the historically significant view that exists in places between the two.

A mix of one and two-bed apartments are proposed in a five storey building designed to step up towards the river with a courtyard enclosed on three sides.

No affordable housing is included in the plans due to the property being vacant. No parking is provided within the development given the town centre location

The plans, drawn up by Den Architecture, conclude: "The proposals make effective use of brownfield land and will make a significant contribution to meeting key regeneration objectives" and "create less than substantial harm on nearby Heritage Assets."

The heritage assessment accompanying the plans states that: "The building holds a degree of local historical interest in illustrating the 1930s development of the City with the laying out of Corporation Street. The design of the building is relatively simply presented and, at the time of construction, largely derivative of prevailing architectural treatment for cinema buildings.

"Interest is largely contained within the principal elevation onto Corporation Street with the other elevations of a functional character and in generally poor aesthetic condition, particularly to the west facing River elevation. Later alterations to the main fa├žade have also diminished architectural interest to some degree."

It adds that "demolition will give rise to a degree of harm to the historic environment" but goes on to say that: "the design respects and enhances the historical context and views whilst providing much needed high quality city centre accommodation."

The site is adjacent to the Forge Island regeneration scheme anchored by a cinema and hotel. Residential use has been proposed on surrounding land in the later stages of the scheme.

Images: Den Architecture


Rod June 1, 2021 at 2:47 PM  

Generally speaking, and in particular in Rotherham, we need to stop knocking serviceable buildings down and should look to converting them. Sadly, the development will make a profit for the new owners so that’s all that matters. The council seems unable or incapable of looking after the town’s history. Rotherham has lost so much and though we have to move on sadly I too now have to move away. Bye-bye the town I was born and raised in, lost now forever. ☹️

royherbert June 1, 2021 at 3:46 PM  

I would have preffered the new cinema to be built on the site, but it is not an aesthetic building tbh, I wish they would just let that be a housing complex and is a waste of time including retail spaces in within the development as they will just remain vacant there are plenty of retail opportunities within the town nearby.

Anonymous,  June 1, 2021 at 9:33 PM  

What an absolute joke!

Why is this building not listed?

How many flats do RMBC think there should be in the town centre?

Wouldn't it be amazing to see this building turned into something akin to the Showroom in Sheffield. There are some great examples of this in other towns. But no, let's go for the easiest option instead.

Sometimes I really do despair with the types of sham developers RMBC seem to court. I'm sure there are some people in the council that won't be happy until every historic building in the town centre is knocked down and replaced with some horrible, faceless block of flats.

Anonymous,  June 1, 2021 at 10:29 PM  

I'd have to be paid to live in Rotherham Town centre.

Anonymous,  June 1, 2021 at 11:15 PM  

7th May - OK, I was only half right. It wont be a fire, just a wreckers ball. But, RMBC still wouldn't have a cinema to compete with their dream.

Anonymous,  June 2, 2021 at 12:22 AM  

5 storeys,no doubt council will downgrade too 2 storeys,they run the town like a small parish,and always the usual rubbish about views of minster, newsflash many towns and city's have old buildings,Lincoln ,York and obviously London,do they keep buildings low?No

Anonymous,  June 2, 2021 at 8:28 AM  

Don't we already have apartment buildings with empty retail units. If they don't offer car parking, then it will likely just be an empty building.
What are the current plans for the burnt out buildings opposite? Resi or hospitality.
And the old Rotherham college building conversion to flats that never happened. What is the 'master' plan.

Anonymous,  June 2, 2021 at 12:25 PM  

Knock the buildings opposite down as well
While there at it that is a eyesore. Also get rid of the guest and chrimes building also

Bunnyman June 2, 2021 at 1:17 PM  

What’s wrong with using it In place of the pathetic civic theatre. Also when are RMBC going to knock the 2 buildings down across the road. I think they’re running out off excuses for them.

Anonymous,  June 2, 2021 at 4:55 PM  

Another great example of this Labour run council who as a town we keep voting in time after time. Well done to people of Thrybergh and East Herringthorpe for going indipendant with Michael Sylvester.

Why can this be so easy to be achieved when you have a crumbling Guest and Crimes sat not allowed to demolished. But a usable building can be lost so easily.

Anonymous,  June 3, 2021 at 3:47 PM  

Guest and chrome's is listed so it is out of the councils hands. Not everything is the councils fault.

Mr me June 4, 2021 at 11:01 AM  

God knows why the rat infested eyesore is listed!

Anonymous,  June 5, 2021 at 8:34 AM  

Thousands of town)city centre flats in likes of Manchester, Salford,Leeds and Sheffield don't have parking.indeed in these times of climate change aren't we supposed to be curbing car use?

Anonymous,  June 5, 2021 at 8:37 AM  

Why would it be converted into a small cinema,when just over river on forge island there's already contacts signed for a multiplex with a private development?

Anonymous,  June 13, 2021 at 9:09 AM  

Might be soonish...the planning application for the 69 bed hotel has just expired. Applicants may try to extend the permission or Council could do a compulsory purchase. Either way you need a developer willing to invest.

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