Wednesday, July 28, 2021

News: Fan zone plans for Guest & Chrimes


Football fans and visitors to Rotherham town centre will have more to cheer if new plans for a micro-brewery and fan zone can be realised at a rejuvenated Guest & Chrimes site.

Rothbiz reported last month that the historic site was in line for a funding boost as the borough had been selected by the Government to receive £31.6m to revamp areas of Rotherham town centre as well as Templeborough and Eastwood.

It was outlined that the site, which suffered a fire in 2018, was set to provide attractive public spaces and leisure facilities.

Now further details of the proposals show that £4.5m has been earmarked from the Towns Fund pot for the saving of the landmark water tower, the development of a new building, and new public spaces on the site. 16,000 sq ft of new commercial space would be created alongside 0.26 hectares of new public realm.

The aim is to create an "enhanced townscape that is more attractive and more accessible to residents, businesses and visitors" and help build an "improved arts, cultural and heritage offer that is more visible and easier for residents/visitors to access."

Investment plans state: "New developments have brought life to the area with the arrival of Rotherham United’s New York Stadium and Riverside House, home to Rotherham Borough Council and currently the Central Library. However, the vacant and semi-derelict buildings at the former Guest and Chrimes factory, which is of significant historical importance to Rotherham, being Grade II listed, remain present and unused. An options appraisal has been completed and a solution which celebrates and retains the building’s heritage, and its surrounding uses has been identified.

"This is a longstanding vacant heritage building complex, desperately in need of regeneration. The new solution has now been developed in partnership with Rotherham United Football Club, creating complimentary leisure uses and outstanding public realm. The key heritage feature of the building is retained and incorporated into a vibrant new leisure-based scheme.

"The project comprises the development of a new building and public realm, providing space for the expansion of successful local businesses into the town centre. There is demand for this space as evidenced by consultation with local businesses, including a micro-brewery, football club fan-zone."

A recent council bid to the Levelling Up Fund includes the provision of a new pedestrian bridge across the river between the new residential development on Sheffield Road and Guest & Chrimes and New York Stadium.

Rothbiz reported in 2019 that Historic England had received an application to remove the building from the listed buildings register. The historic frontage was demolished following the fire.

The new project aims to secure the refurbishment of the landmark water tower and the completion of a "light-box" landmark feature.

Empty since 1999, the site was purchased by Rotherham Council for £2.6m from developers, Evans in 2010 and is now controlled by the football club which has a very long lease from the Council. English Heritage (now Historic England) "strongly objected" to 2012 plans to demolish the former factory.

The company established a manufacturing operation near to Rotherham's Market Place in 1843 with the Chrimes brothers, Peter and Edward, setting up a brass foundry where they invented and produced the high-pressure loose valve screw-down tap.

The firm rapidly expanded into sluice valves, fire hydrants and water meters and John Guest joined the firm in 1847. Following a very large order from Spain, the company moved to the present site in 1857.

The new project wants to tell the international story about Guest & Chrimes through branding and public art to raise ambitions and aspiration of young people. Public realm space would include "interactive New York style Fire Hydrant water features for children’s play - reflecting the product that was designed and manufactured here. This will help to maximise the natural assets of the river and canal."

The plans give an indicative completion date for the project of 2024.

Images: RMBC / Tom Austen


Anonymous,  July 28, 2021 at 12:15 PM  

This needs developing ASAP in to something special to complement the new cinema and bring more people in to town

Anonymous,  July 28, 2021 at 1:19 PM  

Let’s HOP this project gets off the ground unlike the proposed trampoline centre!

Scott Engering July 28, 2021 at 1:34 PM  

Would it be best to get the Forge Island development finished first? Then we can see how much demand there is for these ambitious town centre projects...

Tom,  July 28, 2021 at 2:07 PM  

Forge Island Phase 1a, the cinema and restaurants, is scheduled to open in 2022/23.

Anonymous,  July 28, 2021 at 2:27 PM  

Thank you tom I presume you are tom Smith the director of rmbc i hope all this will be very positive for the town and more development follows

Mr me July 28, 2021 at 4:11 PM  

Defo be a winner,any bar /leisure development will be packed especially on match days.Maybe Mr Stewart should also look at getting concerts at the stadium as Doncaster and chesterfield do,instead of standing unused most of time.Be perfect location for concerts,next to train and tram stops,would also boost to night-time economy and planned hotels.

Anonymous,  July 28, 2021 at 4:32 PM  

Agree,would probably help fill unused units around stadium ,maybe couple bars,would be packed when games or concerts are on.

Anonymous,  July 28, 2021 at 9:46 PM  

If only RMBC would ensure that any new/rebuild would be done sympathetically (e.g. brick?). Only got to go to places like Newark town centre to see what can be done. Don't need a councilors bus trip, just Google it!

Anonymous,  July 28, 2021 at 10:27 PM  

Rotherham isn't a small town like Newark,we should be building high multi storey quality mainly glass similar to keppel wharf,in my opinion the only modern quality building in Rotherham town centre.

Anonymous,  July 29, 2021 at 12:38 AM  

...i wouldn't trust RMBC to carry my shopping never mind trying to rejuvenate a dead town centre, especially in the week.
Great idea moving the Library eh?, now moving it back................

Unknown July 29, 2021 at 8:50 PM  

I recon Its Tom Austin that publishes Rothbiz

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