Friday, December 16, 2022

News: Henry Boot the right fit for Rotherham markets redevelopment


A long-awaited, multimillion pound revamp of Rotherham markets looks to have moved a few steps closer with further funding being found and a contractor close to being officially appointed.

The delayed scheme has now been given a revised total cost of £31.7m, up from previous estimates of £22m.

Rothbiz reported last month how plans for the Rotherham markets and central library scheme were approved.

The proposed works will create a modern, efficient facility that reflects its primary purpose to serve as a place for small business owners to trade and engage with customers, whilst also including elements of flexible space, suitable for easy adaptation to host temporary and changing uses.

Rotherham Council has completed a tendering exercise and looks set to appoint Henry Boot Construction for the project.

The Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment is set to approve the deal by January 15 with the council's website explaining: "a decision to award the first stage of two-stage design and build contract to Henry Boot Construction Ltd for development and delivery of redevelopment proposals for Rotherham Markets. The decision follows the outcome of a tendering exercise undertaken."

In September Rothbiz revealed that the markets redevelopment had been delayed as the council attempted to fill a large funding gap. Rotherham Council secured funding from the Government’s Future High Street Fund to part finance the improvements but the project had a forecast funding gap of £9.8m following an update of the cost plan.

Funding has been found from various pots including £5m from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority's (SYMCA's) "Gainshare" funding pot. Some of that money was under review by the relevant authority board last week.

A £3m grant from the SYMCA was requested "to address a shortfall resulting from inflation and supply chain cost increases."

Papers show that the £3m of funding sought would be a reassignment of funding previously earmarked for the acquisition of Rotherham bus interchange.

Funding for the project is broken down:
- Renovation of the Indoor Market - £6,148,377
- Renovation of the Outdoor Market - £6,537,573
- Demolition works - £1,633,589
- Public Realm works - £5,622,275
- Library works - £6,095,763
- Design and development costs - £5,643,668

The refurbished indoor market will get a new configuration for the stalls, replacing the grid pattern to incorporate a main "desire line" to connect the updated Market Square entrance across to the links to other floors.

The roof will be repaired with American Yellow Poplar slatted panels transforming the look and feel inside. Also getting a new roof, the new outdoor covered market is intended to be used predominantly as a market, but occasionally also for exhibitions and events.

Between the indoor and outdoor market, plans show that three bays of the existing market wing will be demolished and replaced by a double height dining area. A seating area will be surrounded by six units for food vendors and a communal kitchen.

New entrances and significant new public realm is also planned.

As well as the main library functions, other aspects for the new library include a small café, meeting and conference space, flexible gallery space, business library, free Wi-Fi and free access to computers, and maker space facilities for use by schools and the public.

Tim O'Connell, Head of RiDO, the regeneration arm of Rotherham Council, told councillors earlier this week: "The markets and library is probably the next, "big" single scheme after Forge Island in terms of size. It is a scheme that will introduce a number of key factors into Rotherham, so, in addition to improvements to the indoor covered market and the outdoor covered market - the layout, the way they function and some needed investment in infrastructure and services into what is a very old building, built in the 1970s - in addition to that there's a new food hub, there's bringing in the library from where it is now, relocating it into the Centenary Market complex, generating additional footfall alongside the market so the two things can work together. There's a new community hub, additional investment in public realm and improved links to the college and the town centre.

"We have just appointed a contractor on a two stage process to take that forward. That will be confirmed. They are a contractor that has experience of working in markets and we are pleased with the appointement that we've managed to make. They know about working in this environment and with these types of issues.

"A big challenge for us will be around managing the construction because it is the same site. A number of traders are already on site - how do we accommodate those? How do we ensure that they are able to trade as successfully as they possibly can while this work and this disruption brings the benefits we'll see in the longer term?

"Timescales for the markets are for completion mid 2025. From appointing the contractor, there's six months more work on designs ... and then its a 24 month construction period."

Sheffield-based Henry Boot is undertaking current regeneration work at the Heart of the City scheme in Sheffield city centre. It also worked on the new markets and library and the wider Glass Works scheme in Barnsley town centre.

Rotherham Markets website
Henry Boot website

Images: Greig & Stephenson / RMBC


Anonymous,  December 16, 2022 at 2:05 PM  

Excellent news.

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