Tuesday, November 8, 2022

News: Plans progress for £8m park upgrades


Plans continue to progress for £8m of improvements at two country parks in Rotherham.

Rothbiz reported last year that two of the three bids from Rotherham were successful in securing money from the Government's Levelling Up Fund. £19.9m was awarded for a number of connected projects which aim to build a new leisure industry that responds to the challenges of economic recovery and health and well-being.

At Thrybergh Country Park immediate upgrades include a new café and public realm improvements. AHR Architects and ELG Planning have drawn up detailed plans for the council which involve the demolition of the existing lakeside café and the erection of a replacement café building and seating terrace. Landscaping improvements and the formalisation of the car parking arrangements are also included.

Operated by the council, the 60 acre country park is set around a beautiful reservoir. When the Levelling Up bid was submitted, the project cost for Thrybergh was £2.5m. A Country Park Masterplan is also in development and the Levelling Up funds would pay for Phase 1A.

The plans state: "The proposed development aims to unlock the potential of this beautiful and tranquil country park with the creation [of] a new destination waterside café.

"The existing café is considered to be outdated and no longer fit for purpose. It has capacity for up to 50 covers, yet currently serves mostly takeaways as a result of the seating being entirely contained in the conservatory, which provides a hot and unpleasant environment in the summer and is cold in the winter. The existing building also lacks the ability to provide uninterrupted views across the reservoir, which the proposals seek to correct.

"The centre of the site then becomes the beating heart, from which each activity on the site can be easily accessed. The proposed lakeside café will provide 180 degree views across the water, with dual aspect elevation allowing each facade to be equally activated. The circular route around the reservoir will not be disrupted through the construction of a new building, but the associated lanscaping will enhance this route, creating new space which emphasises the natural beauty of the country park setting."

With an enlarged footprint to accommodate the increased visitor numbers the park is already seeing, the café is also set to benefit from a new welcoming entrance with views through to the waterfront. The indoor seating area will also take advantage of the views with further covered outdoor seating also proposed. The new space will be able to accommodate 80 covers inside and 40 outside.

Design aspects include asymmetrical multi pitch roof on multiple planes with the building "sitting comfortably within the landscape" using charred timber, gabion stone cages on the walls and cedar wood shingles.

As the new building is a replacement that aims to improve the attractiveness of the country park as a destination for outdoor recreation, the development is not considered to be inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

Across the borough, at Rother Valley Country Park, the idea is to create a new "Village Centre" with new waterfront buildings, a cycle hub and improved car parking.

Proposed improvements at the park include a new eatery and meeting place with views extending over the lake, as well as improvements to the public realm, new events spaces, improved parking and a new play area.

Rotherham’s Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Cllr David Sheppard, said: “The Council aims to grow Rotherham’s leisure industry and our local economy by making the most of our assets."

Images: AHR Architecture


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