Thursday, April 6, 2023

News: All systems go for CPO


Rotherham Council has issued the legal documents for the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to finally deal with two large burnt out buildings in Rotherham town centre.

Six years after previously discussing the same powers, negotiations with the owners have failed with the council previously stating that there is a "wide gulf between the landowner’s expectations on price and realistic values for the properties."

On the key route through town, the former Envy nightclub building, which suffered a malicious fire in 2007, and Muskaan restaurant, which was closed after a fire in 2011, have been left empty ever since, and whilst not structurally unsafe, the buildings are widely acknowledged to be an eyesore.

Council officers are looking to acquire 3-7 Corporation Street using powers provided to enable acquiring authorities to compulsorily purchase land to carry out a function which Parliament has decided is in the public interest.

In this instance the buildings would be demolished and a private sector developer would be brought in to build a £6m residential-led, mixed-use development, comprising of apartments with commercial space on the ground floor. The council has already secured funding to address the viability gap through the Town Deal and Levelling Up Funding and a planning application was submitted at the start of 2023 and is expected to be determined this month.

The order states: "The proposed redevelopment of the Order Land offers the opportunity to create a significantly more attractive gateway into the town centre whilst maintaining the existing views of the historic Minster.

"The redevelopment of the Order Land will also bring about a critical change of use, helping to repopulate the town centre and offering modern commercial space to take advantage of the significant leisure-focused investment at Forge Island.

"Whilst Corporation Street is not currently a residential destination, the emphasis of the Town Centre Masterplan and more recent Town Investment Plan is on repopulating Rotherham town centre. The residential market in the town centre is currently limited but redevelopments such as that proposed on the Order Land aim to develop the residential market. The redevelopment proposals intend to deliver a high-quality, private rented scheme."

Designed by AHR Architects, the proposals show that the current buildings would be demolished and replaced by a mixed use building, between two and four storeys in height, comprising 19 residential flats and three units totalling 1,238 sq ft of commercial floorspace, plus access, external landscaping and car parking.

The order also sets out the recent history between the landowner and the council. Following the fire in 2011, the owner was interested to know if the Council would purchase the buildings or offer financial incentives for redevelopment. At the time, a lack of a strategic plan for the area, as well as lack of ready funding and resource, meant that the Council could not justify a purchase.

2014 saw a pre-application from the owners for the creation of 48 apartments but this went no further. In 2017, following preparation of the Town Centre Masterplan, the Council issued letters to engage with the landowner and discuss the possiblity of acquiring the site. No responses were received to either of these letters and the owner subsequently proposed a hotel scheme on the site. Planning permission was granted but lapsed and expired with no sign of redevelopment.

Documents show that the owner or reputed owner is Scunthorpe-based Arrangepoint Ltd. Landowners are due compensation when land is taken by a CPO. It is based on market value, loss and disturbance.

In April 2022, Gateley Hamer were appointed by the Council to conduct negotiations and seek to agree a purchase to bring the land into public ownership. The order adds that "A wide gulf between a realistic value for the site and the owner’s expectations led to an unsuccessful conclusion in this period" and adds that "more recently, whilst the owner/owner’s representatives have been engaging, it has not been possible to reach an agreement" with the owner’s representative suggesting a social housing scheme on the site.

The order concludes: "The landowner, as indicated at the Land Registry, has recently passed away and his Estate is now likely to be subject to Probate. An offer to acquire the property has been put in writing and issued to the solicitors dealing with the matter. As a result of these circumstances, the inability to reach agreement on the acquisition, timescales relating to the funding and the prior non-cooperation of the landowner it is considered necessary to make and serve the Order."

Anyone objecting to the order has until May 4 to register with The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Images: AHR / RMBC / Google Maps


Anonymous,  April 6, 2023 at 12:32 PM  

If the pic of the future development is accurate,can't understand why need for 2 storey section,surely would look far better entirely 4 storey and make more money....I actually don't get this obsession with view of minster,places like York build high and have far more impressive buildings than Rotherham York Minster!

Anonymous,  April 6, 2023 at 12:51 PM  

To do with minister view from chapel on bridge I believe

Anonymous,  April 6, 2023 at 1:06 PM  

So is a minster smaller than a Minster?

Anonymous,  April 6, 2023 at 1:16 PM  

Well Rotherham minster is far smaller and far less important than York Minster!

Anonymous,  April 6, 2023 at 1:56 PM  

There is no accounting for taste. The Minster is undeniably a beautiful building and I would much prefer my view to be as unrestricted as possible.

Anonymous,  April 6, 2023 at 4:28 PM  

Silly boy!

Anonymous,  April 11, 2023 at 12:13 PM  

Perhaps if the owner has passed away, then there may be a little of glimmer of light on this development?

It would be good to see something done with this site. It's an eyesore and has been for years. However, in the past, the owners have run rings around the Council, I'm not optimistic that this will change.

Anonymous,  April 11, 2023 at 2:34 PM  

Well it should if the owner has passed away. But there again...

Anonymous,  April 12, 2023 at 6:48 AM  

It is earmarked for demolition in 2035 to coincide with Rotherham's bid for European City of Culture

Anonymous,  April 12, 2023 at 11:41 PM  

Should be gone by 2050 then!

Anonymous,  April 13, 2023 at 7:22 AM  

Yes, it will be funded from the government's levelling up agenda. We are due a grant of £48.50

Anonymous,  April 14, 2023 at 7:31 AM  

The best way to ensure that the council acts quickly to demolish burnt out buildings is to rename them "Doncaster Gate Hospital".

Anonymous,  April 14, 2023 at 10:06 AM  

I still haven't got over them demolishing the Regent and Hippodrome

Anonymous,  April 14, 2023 at 3:33 PM  

That was a mistake. They were supposed to be refurbishing them.

Anonymous,  April 15, 2023 at 6:56 AM  

As a council employee I can confirm that the last post is correct. Internal memorandums were wrongly directed with the result that Doncaster Gate Hospital was demolished and a derelict dustbin shelter in Maltby was refurbished. We are working hard on internal systems to ensure that this does not happen again and I can assure readers that rumours that Rotherham Minster is to be demolished are incorrect. It is going to be refurbished. Oh, just a minute...

Anonymous,  April 16, 2023 at 7:38 PM  

Well, that's that then. I for one will not be sorry to see the Minster go. Let's face it, it has had it's day. OK, granted Turner drew it back in the day, but he can't have been very impressed because he couldn't even be bothered to paint it could he? Not that anyone would have recognised it if he had. Vastly overrated Turner imo. Just chucked paint at the canvas and hoped for the best. Give me that bloke who paints dogs playing snooker any day. And speaking of snooker why aren't snooker halls open 24 hours a day. No, the sooner the Minster is replaced by a multi-story car park the better. No doubt all the bleeding heart pinko winos will be up in arms, but they will just be wasting their time. As we all know, once the council decides a monstrosity is due for demolition It's goodnight Vienna. The only thing that could save the Minster now is a carelessly discarded tab end by the verger.

Anonymous,  April 17, 2023 at 4:26 PM  

Personally I don't think the Minster should be demolished, but it does need rebranding. It should apply for a licence to sell alcohol and operate roulette tables on a 24 hour basis. That would then discourage troublemakers travelling to Chesterfield. They could call it "Have I got Pews for you".

Anonymous,  April 17, 2023 at 10:51 PM  

But that would mean that Chesterfield wasn't the only town with a crooked spire.

Anonymous,  April 18, 2023 at 9:16 AM  

Have to agree that the Minster is a bit of a carbuncle and certainly spoils the view of the burnt out shells on Corporation Street.

Anonymous,  April 18, 2023 at 5:42 PM  

I just hope you are proud of yourself posting rubbish like this. My husband is the very hard working verger of Rotherham Minster and your talk about discarded tab ends has placed him in clear and present danger. After evensong yesterday hubby went out for a well earned ciggy and as he was about to light up a member of the armed response team on a disability scooter tazered him without warning. And just because he was carrying a packet of fire lighters!!

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