Tuesday, September 13, 2022

News: Latest Forge Island plans approved


Updated plans for the Forge Island regeneration scheme in Rotherham town centre have been approved.

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 beverage (F&B) outlets and car parking. It is set to be completed in 2024.

A hybrid planning application was approved in 2020 and since then, major hotel brand, Travelodge, has signed up alongside boutique cinema operator, The Arc, to jointly anchor the scheme.

The latest plans were submitted by Muse to include further exacting details for the two occupiers. They have been approved without going to the Council's planning board.

The previously approved plans are for a four storey, 69 bed hotel at the north of the site, designed with a metal top and brick base in grey. An adjoining restaurant (two storey) is also in the plans.

The hotel changes are largely internal and would result in a reduction in the floorspace of the restaurant. However, documents show that the commercial requirements for the restaurant require a minimum of 2,400 sq ft to be available so the floorplate of the restaurant building is proposed to be extended 3 metres further south.

Council planners say that this extension is not anticipated to have any adverse visual impact on the development proposed or its surroundings.

2020 plans detailed the cinema - the largest building in the scheme at 25,000 sq ft, positioned at the south of Forge Island. Either side of the cinema's foyer are two restaurant units (2,500 sq and 3,000 sq ft), which have the potential for mezzanine levels. Plans show five screens with between 125 and 143 seats and three smaller screens of between 50 and 83 seats. The cinema design incorporates a saw-tooth roof profile with a metal cap and a robust brick podium base.

The proposed amendments to the approved cinema drawings are at plant / roof level to allow for a minor increase to the size of the plant zone. This will allow equipment to sit at plant floor level, as originally intended, and therefore below the ridge of the proposed roof line and be visually concealed.

Another change is to the proposed pedestrian bridge which will need to be wider than the original design to allow for fire engine access from Corporation Street to the main Forge Island area.

The widening of the bridge has also meant that the cafe building proposed in the new public realm area replacing the Riverside Precinct has had to be relocated. Planners state that this area, to be known as Millgate Place, "will offer an attractive gateway/link between the Town Centre and Forge Island. The slightly altered location of the coffee pod enables an improved level access pedestrian link to the adjacent riverside walk and Riverside gardens."

Enabling works are underway on a replacement footbridge, with the contractor starting on site this month. Regarding the flood works, the canal barrier at Forge Island has been operational since mid August.

Muse has also submitted a Construction & Environment Management Plan for the leisure scheme. Drawn up by Bowmer & Kirkland, it is a big hint that it will be the Derbyshire company, one of the most successful and financially secure, privately owned construction and development groups in the UK, that will be taking on the construction of the Forge Island scheme.

The council heard earlier this year that Muse was looking to apoint a contractor with a negotiated price in order to produce the best possible price and greatest level of certainty around cost. Work to secure a funder for the scheme was also reported as being close.

An update to the Council's cabinet next week adds: "The detailed design of the flagship leisure development at Forge Island - comprising a cinema, hotel, and restaurants – is on track and expected this month (September 2022), allowing construction to begin."

Forge Island website

Images: Muse / Travelodge


Anonymous,  September 13, 2022 at 2:20 PM  

Looking forward to it.

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