Wednesday, November 30, 2022

News: Guest & Chrimes no longer in line for live music venue


The dilapidated Guest & Chrimes building on the edge of Rotherham town centre could have been reborn as an National / International music venue under Council-led plans, but the project has fallen flat.

Despite £4.5m being set aside for the scheme, the authority was not able to reach an agreement with the landowner, Rotherham United Football Club. It is now looking at other sites within the town centre.

Empty since 1999, the Guest & Chrimes site was purchased by Rotherham Council for £2.6m from developers, Evans in 2010 and is now controlled by the football club which has a very long lease from the Council.

Rothbiz reported last year that the plan for the Grade-II listed site 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. Further updates confirmed that a large music venue was in the plans.

Council minutes confirm that in the summer, the Council was not "able to reach an agreement with the landowner, therefore we are not to proceed with that building, but have looked at alternatives, which are now progressing."

The project team had carried out work for a year to develop a business case which was submitted to the Government in August. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has been asked if the money for the Guest & Chrimes project can be moved to another site.

The development of a new building and new public spaces on the Guest & Chrimes site would have seen 16,000 sq ft of new commercial space created alongside 0.26 hectares of new public realm.

The historic frontage was demolished following a fire but plans would have saved the landmark water tower and addressed the existing building. Described as an ambitious project for Rotherham, the plan was for a National / International venue with a capacity of up to 800, to include a festival area. Used as a fan zone on matchdays, this would have included a micro-brewery and a coffee bar by day and music / entertainment in the evening.

Previous plans have been hampered by high costs and the Grade-II listing. Costs were rising but a scheme was developed that Historic England said it would support. However, by May, the team working on the project reported on a stumbling block: "the landowner is now no longer supportive of the scheme, but his [presumably Tony Stewart, chairman of Rotherham United] counter proposal does not fit with Town Deal funding."

Council minutes add that there is an alternative project for the building and that "it has been suggested to the Guest & Chrimes landowner that the site could potentially be included in the second masterplan if we can come to an agreement. Interim works on the site to make it look better, change the hoardings, add lighting etc., could be carried out if funding can be found."

Images: RMBC


Anonymous,  November 30, 2022 at 1:15 PM  

What a joke,another disappointment for town,this time it seems football club would sooner it stay a dilapidated eyesore and embarrassment to town.THANKS TONY!👎

Anonymous,  November 30, 2022 at 1:26 PM  

Silly decisions like this where a land owner stands in way and would prefer a eyesore site than development,is reason why Rotherham as no facilities,if this opportunity had been in Doncaster, Barnsley or Sheffield,they would already be progressing or maybe even operating by now .Only Rotherham never gets things off ground.

Anonymous,  November 30, 2022 at 4:24 PM  

This is disappointing, though I'm not sure why blame is being directed at "Rotherham" when the blocker is the football club (as they own the land)

Anonymous,  December 1, 2022 at 12:12 AM  

Do Rotherham United own the land or lease it...
"Empty since 1999, the Guest & Chrimes site was purchased by Rotherham Council for £2.6m from developers, Evans in 2010 and is now controlled by the football club which has a very long lease from the Council"

Anonymous,  December 1, 2022 at 3:25 AM  

If they're looking for another site for this venue, surety the old Scala cinemas is perfect.

Anonymous,  December 1, 2022 at 5:47 AM  

It will probably eventually be demolished and then end up being a car park, like Trades club became. But who wants to visit Rotherham town center when there's nothing there, and especially to have to pay to park!!!

Anonymous,  December 2, 2022 at 11:08 PM  

Why did RMBC hand over the lease to Rotherham United?

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