Tuesday, November 22, 2022

News: Rotherham Council continues to object to Meadowhall expansion


Despite a revised scheme at Meadowhall in Sheffield being scaled back, Rotherham Council has objected to the proposal again.

Rothbiz reported in August that updated plans from British Land showed a reduced retail, food and beverage, cinema and leisure floorspace.

Rotherham Council has objected to various proposals for the out-of-centre site since 2016 based on the negatve impact on the vitality and viability of Rotherham town centre and the proposed leisure-led regeneration scheme at Forge Island.

The initial plans for a multi-level extension housed under a glazed roof on land currently used for car parking were approved in 2018. It was approved by Sheffield Council despite an objection from Rotherham Council and an acknowledgement that it would "undoubtedly have a negative impact on Rotherham's town centre which is already in a fragile state."

The original leisure hall application has now expired and 2020 plans have been scaled back. The reduction in retail and leisure floorspace now has an overall proposed cap on such land uses down by 173,708 sq ft to that previously proposed, which was 278,785 sq ft.

The latest estimates are that the new revised scheme will negatively impact Rotherham town centre but to a lesser extent than the 2016 and 2020 proposals. The impact of the proposals on the turnover of Rotherham town centre is calculated at -0.2% in 2025. 2020 proposals had the figure at -0.8%.

The proponents of the Meadowhall scheme have also been keen to state how its scheme is different to Forge Island in Rotherham, arguing that the new Meadowhall proposal is designed to be "more aspirational in order to set it apart" and that progress has been made in Rotherham despite the previous larger Meadowhall scheme being granted planning permission.

However, planners at Rotherham Council remain unconvinced, and following advice from planning consultants, state that the Meadowhall proposal "raises significant concerns" in relation to Forge Island.

Responding to the updated plans and lodging an official objection, Lisa Brooks, development manager - strategic applications, at Rotherham Council, said: "Whilst it is acknowledged that work has commenced on the Forge Island scheme, it is considered that the proposed Meadowhall expansion will draw in more of the local spend available within the region. It would directly compete with the local and regional leisure market thereby spreading a limited amount of available spending across a wider footprint/number of operators. The result of this will be to weaken the long term prospects for Rotherham town centre to build on the Forge Island investment and the public investment into the creation of a new leisure and cultural quarter.

"Retail in Rotherham town centre has been decimated by the proximity of large out-of-town shopping centres. The response from planning consultants acknowledges the negative impact that Meadowhall has had on Rotherham and the resulting need for the Council to consolidate the town centre and diversify its offer. The proposed Meadowhall expansion (into a greater share of the leisure market) has the very real potential to double down on the negative impact Meadowhall has had on Rotherham and would undermine the strategy to regenerate the town centre and the investments being made."

Ground work began at Forge Island last month after Rotherham Council's cabinet rubber-stamped a financial deal to fund the up front costs for the transformational scheme. It includes a state-of-the-art cinema, a 69 room hotel, and six restaurants.

Meadowhall website
Forge Island website

Images: British Land


Anonymous,  November 22, 2022 at 11:41 AM  

Shame objections to Sheffield developments weren't raised previously,RMBC have been a soft touch regards allowing Sheffield to do what it wants,let's hope this is the new approach.

Anonymous,  November 22, 2022 at 12:30 PM  

Think they are taking the mick if they think this will prevent people going to Rotherham's town offering.
Offer free parking at Forge and it will increase vistors.

Anonymous,  November 22, 2022 at 4:26 PM  

Ironic that the person named in the report has been the biggest proponent for steamrollering over controversial decisions to build on Rotherham's greenbelt land. With it her direct decisions have caused untold damage to the local environment, whilst adding additional pressure on public services which are already at breaking point. But quite clearly those in power down at the good ship RMBC can't really see that the planning department is inept at best and woeful in its decision making processes.

Perhaps one day RMBC will realise that when faced with centres like Meadowhall which does offer high street retail, a decent leisure offering AND free parking, that they will realise that they need a serious rethink when it comes to pet projects like Forge Island.

Anonymous,  November 22, 2022 at 4:46 PM  

Well done to the council.
Stick up for Rotherham.
My partner and I use Rotherham town centre a lot and will always look there first before we go to meadowhall or parkgate.
The forge island and market redevelopment is just want Rotherham needs,the people of the borough need to support it,I can assure you now my partner and I will continue to over Meadowhall and parkgate.

Anonymous,  November 22, 2022 at 11:12 PM  

Why need for parking there full stop?If I'm going to cinema in evening,then having a meal and a few beers, I'll be using taxi or bus,I would hope others do same,don't want drink driving 🤔

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