Wednesday, July 6, 2022

News: Rotherham regeneration projects delayed as costs rise

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A number of regeneration projects in Rotherham have been delayed.

The local council is citing issues linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising costs of materials.

Rotherham town centre is benefitting from over £60m of investment after funding from various government schemes was secured.

At Forge Island, flood defence work is currently underway in readiness for a new leisure scheme with an 8-screen boutique style cinema, modern hotel, food and drink outlets and car parking.

According to council papers, the delivery of the Canal Barrier at Forge Island will be completed in July 2022 and the Flood Alleviation project at Ickles lock has started with a planned completion in 2023.

Cabinet papers show that for a number of projects, delivery and expenditure has slipped into future years.

For the flood work at Forge Island, papers state: "The overall costs were increased due in the main to inflation on required materials (steel), these increases lead to a requirement for an additional funding package, that has delayed progress. An increased funding package is now in place and the project has been re-profiled and will be completed by August 2022."

It is expected that construction will start on the cinema and hotel in October 2022 allowing practical completion and handover to tenants for fitting out by January 2024. At the time of securing the approval of the planning board in 2020, developers, Muse, anticipated that construction would begin in autumn 2021.

Muse is currently working on detailed design in preparation for awarding a construction contract based on a negotiated price. Legal discussions are also ongoing regarding leases and funding.

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Alongside Forge Island there has also been delays with the demolition of Riverside Precinct and Chantry Building. F Hardwick Ltd secured a £87,800 tender for the work but "there have been delays securing a contractor to remove the pedestrian bridge with works due to commence in first quarter 2022/23. Preparations for the bridge removal are underway and will complete Q2 2022/23."

Rotherham Council is also leading on efforts to build more new houses in the town centre. Whilst all the houses have been reserved and the first residents have moved in at a new development on Wellgate, delays have been experienced "largely due to a variety of utility issues across all three sites. The project will be re-profiled to reflect a completion of November 2022" - pushed back from September 2022.

The markets revamp has now entered Rotherham Council's capital programme. A planning application was recently submitted for the redevelopment of Rotherham markets, complete with a new chapter for a central library. It has been given a total budget of £22,095,761 split between this year and next.

Finalising designs and funding agreements are singled out as causing delays to other projects, including the new home for Grimm & Co and the completion of the green space on the High Street.

Rotherham Council purchased the former Primark building on High Street in November 2020, secured planning permission and hired a demolition firm to take down the vacant building. The authority had set out to complete a pocket park by September 2021, and pushed this back to June 2022. Papers state that "final design amendments are in the process of being concluded ahead of tendering" but no new completion date is given.

Outside of the town centre, delays have also been reported on transport schemes at the Parkway (now expected completion of October 2022) and at Greasborough (The project now has a forecast completion date of first quarter 2023).

The cabinet paper concludes that capital expenditure (programme delivery) is higher than in previous years but adds that "the pandemic has significantly impacted the delivery of a number of schemes, in the main due to Covid restrictions impacting how works are undertaken as well as a knock on effect on the cost of materials and supply and demand in the market.

"The level of slippage on the Capital Programme is reflective of the delivery challenges that the Council faces due to built up demand in the supplier market due to Covid, inflation and the Council’s Capital Programme is the largest it has ever been."

Images: Jackson Civil Engineering / RMBC

7 comments:

Anonymous,  July 6, 2022 at 2:13 PM  

Not exactly a surprise that there's been Covid-19 related delays (on top of the earlier delays, on top of the other delays... insert your own excuse here).

Lightning rarely strikes twice, unless of course you're talking about regeneration programmes and Rotherham. We've seen all this before, the ambitious plans for regenerating the town come along, they know a couple of buildings down, run out of money and justify the creation of more green space.

We're entering into a recession, it's clear this ship has well and truly sailed, and yet again, those at the good ship RMBC are left scratching their backsides and shrugging their shoulders as all around them collapses. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the whole scheme gets scrapped and it reverts back to being a car park.

Here's a thought: Instead of mucking and messing about pulling this building down, leaving a pile of rubble there, why not actually crack on and get one thing finished?

In the time that it's taken to build this foolhardly white elephant, Barnsley, Doncaster and Sheffield have completed countless regenerations projects. Ones which don't just rely on cramming a load of people of people in shoebox flats and hoping for the best - No. I'm talking about ones that bring about genuine economic stimulus. And that's the crux of the problem.

Delays to schemes like this are hurting the town. It's damaging those businesses which, against all the odds are eeking out a living in Rotherham Town Centre.

The ongoing delays reflects just how out of their depth the good folk at RMBC really are. So. My question to RMBC is - yes, I can accept there are delays - what penalties for this abject failure have been imposed upon the developer?

And more importantly, what are you going to do about it?

Anonymous,  July 6, 2022 at 4:47 PM  

☝️ Well said, you ought to run as an mp?

Anonymous,  July 6, 2022 at 5:10 PM  

Aren't these delays, actually delays that we already know about??Pretty sure ,the article says that construction is due to start in October this year.....well that's what was stated last year...so not actually any further delays then??Oh and just to add,I actually work in the site...work.is going to start as planned,as far as I know.

Anonymous,  July 6, 2022 at 6:05 PM  

Comm's problems AGAIN! Transport project in Greasbrough? It's just finished nearly a week earlier than the delayed, delayed date. So what project is this one?

Tom,  July 6, 2022 at 7:29 PM  

According to the paper, Greasbrough Village Centre Traffic signals now has a forecast completion date of first quarter 2023.

The £2.4m Coach Road junction improvement has slipped into 2022 - 2023 alongside The Whins (£800,000) improvement scheme.

Anonymous,  July 7, 2022 at 12:18 PM  

The town centre looks like a bomb site with all these half finished projects underway. What a great advert for Rotherham as the Euros roll in. Missed opportunity, yet again.

Anonymous,  August 5, 2022 at 4:49 PM  

Some folk on here could really do with a pint of positivity…and get off their backside and try and make a difference, then they would understand how challenging it is to get things done in the real world…

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