Tuesday, November 30, 2021

News: Wentworth Woodhouse to transform stables and create hospitality jobs

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Once workplace and home to hundreds of grooms and stable boys, the Stables of Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham are now set to provide jobs and training for the hospitality sector in a £5.1m regeneration project.

Rothbiz reported in October that the Wentworth project was part of successful bids to the Government's Levelling Up Fund.

Redevelopment of a major section of the long-derelict Stable Block, the grandest in the land when built in the late 1700s, can now get underway.

The Preservation Trust which owns the stately home, has pledged to create employment and become a major driver of Rotherham’s leisure and tourism sector; it will now be able to further that aim with the redevelopment of 800m2 of the Stables’ West Range into fully kitted-out production kitchens, a training facility for new hospitality staff, plus a café.

Work will start in early 2022 and is expected to take two years.

Sarah McLeod, CEO of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, said: “The Levelling Up Fund is all about giving people in the North the same opportunities as those in the South. This grant makes a massive difference to us, an independent charitable trust trying to make a real difference to the community of South Yorkshire, which we know is a great place to live, work and visit.

“We will help deliver the Levelling Up agenda through job creation and upskilling. The hospitality sector is currently experiencing a huge labour shortage; our production kitchens will serve cafes and catering right across our site and give us the facilities to train up our own hospitality team.

"The really wonderful thing about this win is it’s a consortium bid from organisations all proud to be part of Rotherham’s leisure and visitor economy, and determined to drive growth and employment.

“We will be looking to link up with local colleges for hospitality training qualifications and plan to offer valuable hospitality work experience to people with disabilities.”

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Wentworth Woodhouse’s huge Stable Block, positioned on the driveway to the Mansion, was created for the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham by architect John Carr of York.

When completed in 1782 it was the largest private stables in the country, and remained so until the late 1900s.

It boasted stables for 84 hunting, riding, and carriage horses. Grooms and stable boys slept in small rooms above the horses and house gardeners also lived at the site.

The kitchen in the West Range will service all on-site hospitality, including afternoon teas, private events, the Mansion’s cafe and a new food offer to be developed in the Camellia House.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: WWPTT

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News: Renovating historic Rotherham school building

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Maltby Learning Trust has revealed further details of a proposed £6.3m redevelopment of the former Maltby Grammar School building, to create an incubator space for training, apprenticeships, and start up support in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

Rothbiz reported in October that the project was part of a winning bid to the Government's Levelling Up Fund based around building a new leisure industry that responds to the challenges of economic recovery and health and well-being.

The redevelopment programme, formulated by leaders at Maltby Learning Trust and the architect of Maltby Academy, will repurpose the old Grammar School building and create a community resource that accommodates local services, supports wellbeing, employment and enterprise, and provides substantial learning opportunities for the Maltby community.

The redevelopment, which secured £4.5m and will be split into three phases, will see the derelict grammar school building, including the landmark clocktower, transformed into a three-story community space to include bookable workspaces, serviced hot-desking, seminar rooms, a community coffee shop, and an apprenticeship centre.

The space will also house the Maltby Learning Trust central services team, and the Maltby Academy Sixth Form centre which will include several classrooms, tutorial rooms and learning spaces for students.

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David Sutton, Chief Executive Officer of Maltby Learning Trust, said: “Following the successful remodelling of the Maltby Academy estate and subsequent mothballing of the old grammar school, leaders are delighted to be able to recommission and upgrade the historic building as a community resource that will further complement the state-of-the-art educational environment provided in the Academy.

“After much discussion about the future of the building, and with our plans for an innovative resource for the community which will place skills development and training at its heart, trustees and leaders recognised that the government Levelling Up Fund would be the ideal investment for the Grammar School redevelopment. We approached our local MP and engaged with RMBC to develop our winning bid for the initiative.

"The new provision will provide a range of interlinked educational and vocational services, from sixth form to training and employment, to supporting new business enterprises, and will provide the local community with a sustainable training resource centre. The ambition is that this development will further support the local and regional programme of regeneration.”

Dame Julie Kenny, Chair of the MLT Board, said: “In the coming weeks the Trust will be holding a series of stakeholder engagement events to showcase the exciting plans and explore ways of connecting local community groups, training providers and employers with the planned developments. Whilst the Trust have shaped ambitious plans for this building and worked with the Local Authority to orchestrate this exciting opportunity and secure significant investment for the Maltby community, it is now important that all stakeholders engage in the planning of this development and make the vision a reality.”

In April was the building again under the threat of demolition only for new plans for its reuse submitted in July. The building suffered a fire in September.

Phase one development will provide the refurbished accommodation for the Post 16 centre in the north wing whilst securing the remaining buildings, mothballing and making them wind and weather tight. From January 2022, ex-students will be able to buy a brick of the Maltby Grammar School building.

Maltby Learning Trust website

Images: Maltby Learning Trust

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News: Chamber celebrates a night to remember

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With a sell-out audience in attendance, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber proved that despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, there were plenty of reasons for businesses across the region to feel optimistic.

The Chamber’s Celebration for Business event, sponsored by the Morthyng Group, created a carnival like atmosphere, complete with singing waiters, a fairground carousel, as well as thousands of pounds being raised on the evening to support local worthy causes. Over 350 guests from the local business community came together at Magna in the single largest event hosted by Barnsley & Rotherham since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the evening President Joada Allen, paid tribute to the vital role businesses have played during the past eighteen months, praising the forgotten heroes and recognising the way in which many across the region had adapted to the challenges posed by successive local and national lockdowns, as well as embracing new ways of working.

The important work undertaken by charities and not-for-profit businesses was also given special recognition, with mental health charity Rotherham & Barnsley Mind being named as the Chamber’s chosen charity of the year and receiving a donation of £3,000. Barnsley Sea Cadets and Rotherham-based Rush House were highly commended on the evening, with both charities receiving £500 donations.

In an evening which placed an emphasis upon re-building connections and helping the local business community to come together, special salutes to business were presented to businesses celebrating milestone anniversaries: Oxley & Coward (230 years), Marsden Weighing Machine Group (95 years), KCM Waste Management (35 years) and Hickton Quality Control (30 years). The Chamber also made special presentations to Barnsley-based Naylor Clayware and Rotherham’s Marsden Weighing Group in recognition of receiving the Queen’s Award for International Trade and Innovation respectively.

However, the evening was all about celebrating the strength and diversity of the local business community, and with live music, singing waiters, and much more, there was plenty to enjoy.

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Joada Allen, President, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber said: “The past eighteen months have been unprecedented in our lifetimes. At the beginning of March 2020, many businesses feared the worst. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber has worked tirelessly to support our members and help businesses to access the right support at the right time.

“Usually at this time of the year the Chamber reflects on the success achieved by our members at our annual business awards, however, we felt that every business which has successfully navigated its way through the pandemic has their own story of success in the face of adversity and we felt now was a time for unity rather than competition.

“The event proved to be a memorable evening, not just for those companies who were recognised on the evening and was our way of recognising the incredibly way in which so many businesses from across the region have adapted to the challenges they have faced and embraced change.”

BR Chamber website

Images: BR Chamber

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

News: Listed building hope to save former Rotherham cinema

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An art deco former cinema in Rotherham that is under the threat of demolition could be saved by a successful campaign to have the building listed.

The Mecca Bingo on Corporation Street in Rotherham town centre was closed earlier this year. It originally opened in December 1934 as the Regal Cinema.

Rothbiz reported in June that an application had been submitted to knock the building down and in its place, erect a residential building consisting of 45 dwellings and three ground floor commercial units.

At the time of the application the building was not listed and planning documents from Sunshine Homes Ltd explained that: "The initial intention was to explore options for a residential conversion of the existing building, however having assessed these options in detail it was clear that a conversion was simply not a viable proposal. As such it was concluded that the only real option was for a new build approach."

Now a campaign group says that the Rotherham building will be protected by Grade II listed building status.

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The Cinema Theatre Association, which campaigns nationally to protect traditional cinema buildings, said: "The Regal Rotherham has been Listed Grade II by Historic England, following a campaign to prevent demolition, reports the Cinema Theatre Association's architectural caseworker today. This 1934 cinema has a prominent position in the town. It was designed by Hull architects Blackmore & Sykes for Lou Morris. It later passed through several operators, becoming the Scala before going onto bingo as Ritz/Mecca, closing due to the pandemic restrictions."

Historic England has not yet updated its list and maps but Rotherham Council's mapping system shows the building now has Grade II listed status as a "Building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Former Regal Cinema."

Any planning application would need to show very special circumstances in order to demolish a listed building.

Even before the listing, Historic England had objected to plans to demolish the building and replace it with new build flats due to its location adjacent to the Rotherham Town Centre Conservation Area.

Suzanne Lilley, Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas, said: "It is Historic England’s view that the current approach is not appropriate, and we have serious concerns regarding this application on heritage grounds.

"The demolition of the former Regal cinema would completely erode any contribution the application site makes to the special interest of the conservation area. We are not of the view that sufficient public benefits arising from the proposal have been demonstrated that would outweigh this harm.

"We strongly encourage the retention and reuse of the former Regal cinema, thereby putting historic places at the heart of the approach to redevelopment in Rotherham town centre."

The stand out features of the building are its principal façade which comprises a three-bay central section in a restrained design enlivened by the use of pilasters, cornices and elaborate glazing bars. Inside there is a relatively high level of survival with key elements of the historic decorative scheme to the foyer and auditorium remaining intact.

The building was due to go up for auction in October with a guide price of £390,000. The freehold of the 25,833 sq ft building was described as having "potential for commercial / institutional / religious use and residential development subject to planning."

The lot was withdrawn before going to auction.

The property did sell at auction in 2019 for £575,000.

Images: Network Auctions

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News: Updated plans for massive Rotherham development set for approval

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Updated plans for a huge distribution centre development alongside the M18 motorway in Rotherham are being recommended for approval despite a large number of objections.

Outline plans were approved for "Interchange Park" at Hellaby last year and applicants said that it could be home to over 1,000 jobs.

Since then, Panattoni, the largest industrial real estate developer in Europe, has bought the Cumwell Lane site and has submitted further details and made changes to the plans.

The outline plans enable a 630,000 sq ft facility to be built along with a smaller 85,000 sq ft facility on former greenbelt land.

A report to Rotherham Council's planning board explains: "The developers wish to bring forward a Reserved Matters application [details not submitted at outline stage and "reserved" for later determination] as soon as possible, however with an amended access strategy which would include only two access points off Cumwell Lane, a main shared access for cars and HGV’s and a second access for cars only serving the smaller northern unit."

Changes to the parking strategy are also planned.

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The changes put forward now are considered to be less than substantial and this application is to ammend some of the conditions put in place with the determination of the outline application last year.

Objectors believe that the changes are substantial given the removal of a southern access to the site but transport planners state that the assessment of the approved outline plans only looked at proposed access to Cumwell Lane and so have no concerns.

Objections also focus on car parking and HGV parking but these issues are likely to be considered at a seperate Reserved Matters application stage. Issues with the traffic surveys being undertaken during Covid and the impact of the nearby operation of Thurcroft Colliery have also been raised.

The planning officers are recommending that the planning board, which is due to meet this week, approves the plans as they do not consider that the removal of the southern access point to the site would lead to any increased air quality issues, would not create any additional impact on noise and general amenity for the residents close to the site and is acceptable in highway safety terms.

The report concludes: "This application to vary the original permission is considered to be acceptable in terms of highway safety and general amenity, and would not result [in] any significant additional impacts which would adversely affect the residential amenity of nearby residents or the wider community. It is therefore recommended that planning permission be granted subject to ... conditions."

Images: Panattoni

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