Wednesday, December 15, 2021

News: When will Forge Island and other Rotherham regen schemes be finished?

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There are a number of regeneration schemes underway or planned for Rotherham town centre, but when are they likely to be completed?

Following the adoption of the town centre masterplan in 2017, which focuses on residential and leisure uses rather than traditional retail, work has begun on transformative schemes such as Forge Island and residential developments on Council land.

In addition, the area is also set to benefit from over £60m of external and council funding.

Forge Island
Forge Island is a Council-owned site which sits between the River Don and South Yorkshire Navigation Canal. Led by Muse Developments, it will host a new leisure scheme with an 8-screen boutique style cinema, modern hotel, food and drink outlets and car parking.

Major hotel brand, Travelodge, recently exchanged a long-term deal to become an anchor tenant. This followed the news earlier in the year that boutique cinema operator, The Arc, had agreed to open its seventh site at the scheme.

The demolition of buildings to make way for the scheme, public realm improvements and flood alleviation work marks the progress of the scheme to date. It is set to be completed in 2024.

Simon Moss, assistant director for planning, regeneration and transportation at Rotherham Council, recently updated councillors on the progress. He said: "Forge Island is probably the most transformative scheme in the town centre. We call it a catalytic scheme - a catalyst for regeneration.

"You do get the sense that it is starting to pay back in terms of hope and confidence post-pandemic, and our position in terms of economic recovery. It does feel that it is generating quite a lot of interest and investment from public sector and private sector as well."

Main construction on Forge Island is scheduled to start in Autumn 2022.

The council is keen to capitalise on the catalyst of Forge Island and Rothbiz has reported previously on the targeting of vacant buildings on Corporation Street such as the former bank buildings and the burnt-out former nightclub where a CPO is still being examined by the council. Mixed use residential schemes are proposed and a feasability study into a potential site for a new theatre is also underway.

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Markets
Having secured a significant funding boost, the £8.9m markets redevelopment (cgi, below) is expected to start spring 2022.

Moss added: "The library and markets development is one of the biggest schemes. Funded through the Future High Streets Fund, it is going to be a landmark project for the town centre. It brings together a new space for learning and culture - a new flexible space shared with the markets together with a new library and community hub.

"I think it is really great that the college [RCAT] is so close by. Co-location with the library and college will be a really strong element in terms of joint footfall."

A planning application is imminent with plans for improved entrances to the market, a new internal layout, reducing underused space, and linkages to new, attractive public spaces. Completion at the markets has been pencilled in for 2024.

Guest & Chrimes
At Guest & Chrimes, Rothbiz reported in July that the plan was to use £4.5m of Town Deal funding to create a micro-brewery and fan zone at the former foundry which sits alongside Rotherham United's New York Stadium.

Saving the landmark water tower, the development of a new building and new public spaces on the site could see 16,000 sq ft of new commercial space created alongside 0.26 hectares of new public realm.

Moss added: "It has been a long-standing challenge, I think it is fair to say. The Guest & Chrimes building is a really interesting site, a huge amount of affection I think, and pride, in the heritage of the building, with good reason. But challenges, for sure, about what's the right kind of use for that site sitting in between the football club and the council offices. Challenges around how you address the heritage challenges whilst also trying to design a viable scheme.

"We are starting to look at that. There's some very early concept images following the Towns Fund based around a fan zone which will be complimentary to the football club and complementary to the town centre in terms of that leisure economy. Also thinking about potential music venue space and different options that could come together to try and make a development viable on that site."

Towns Fund schemes are set to be completed in 2024.

Housing
For the residential projects, Rotherham Council are attempting to kickstart housebuilding in the town centre with contractor Willmott Dixon working on behalf of the Council to deliver 171 homes on authority land as part of a £31.5m contract for the "Trilogy Collection" of schemes.

The £13m site Westgate Riverside development in Sheffield Road consists of two apartment blocks containing 44 homes and 28 two and three-storey semi-detached and terraced houses. It is due to be completed in July 2022.

The Millfold House development, which is valued at £10m, will feature one apartment block consisting of 31 apartments and 14 back-to-back houses. Called Millfold Rise, it is due to complete in September 2022.

The third development, on the site of the former Henley's garage on Wellgate (pictured), consists of two apartment blocks containing 34 homes and 20 two and three-storey terraced houses, with a value of £8.5m. Wellgate Place is due to be completed in February 2022.

Looking ahead, Rotherham Council has identified a Riverside Residential Quarter on underdeveloped land around Westgate and Sheffield Road. Masterplanning is underway for up to 279 high quality residential units, to include a mix of apartments and houses. Utilising a mix of funding, work here could be complete in 2024 - 25.

On the Riverside Quarter, Moss added: "Town Deal funding is in place to help bring these sites forward, Levelling Up Funding has been secured to deliver public realm, including a new bridge [potentially a Bailey bridge] and riverside walk. Discussions are underway with key landowners.

"Bringing more people into the town centre is a fundamental part of the strategy, so that it becomes part of a local community in its own right and the sustainability that comes with that."

Images: RMBC

6 comments:

John Hensby December 15, 2021 at 12:58 PM  

I'm feeling particularly grumpy today so maybe I'm being overly critical here but it always seems like jam tomorrow for Rotherham. Barnsley, Doncaster, Sheffield just seem to get on with things, in no time at all, whereas we're forever fiddling around the edges. Forever pushing dates back.

Plus, no doubt, there'll be the inevitable funding shortfall or perhaps one of the anchor tenants will end up going bust, etc, etc. Something "unforseen" will pop up as if by magic and halt, or prevent, the project(s).

[Sigh] jam tomorrow good citizens, jam tomorrow. We promise you'll have jam. Tomorrow.

Ho bloody ho 😕

Anonymous,  December 15, 2021 at 3:14 PM  

Got to agree with this, every time I look, the completion dates seem to be pushed back, it will be 10 years since Tesco left forge Island and the cinema was talked about before hand! Yes we’ve needed flood defences & also an ongoing pandemic, it didn’t stop other towns though! I do hope RMBC don’t give them selves a pat on the back for this, they couldn’t organise a p… up in a brewery!

Anonymous,  December 15, 2021 at 4:36 PM  

Exactly,were looking at a construction site ,while they're drinking ,eating popcorn and watching films already in Barnsley,when the Barnsley's glassworks project was infact planned after forge island was muted.Useless council.

Anonymous,  December 16, 2021 at 8:14 AM  

"Still examining" the CPO for the burnt out night club, "starting to look at" the longstanding Guest and Chrimes issue.... I really can't get my breath, public perception of RMBC and their ability to manage the town is at rock bottom and here are two of many examples why.

Anonymous,  December 16, 2021 at 9:52 AM  

Well said mate these schemes are taking too long rotherham hasn't had a cinema since 1989

Anonymous,  December 18, 2021 at 7:16 AM  

Rotherham planning, an oxymoron surely

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