PROPOSALS to retain historical buildings on a new housing estate have been welcomed - but concerns over parking have been raised.
Property consultants Harris Lamb held a drop-in event about plans to convert the Swinden Technology Centre at Moorgate.
The plans for 121 dwellings at the steel research campus include keeping grade II-listed Swinden House, which will be split into 13 flats.
Harris Lamb associate Sam Silcocks said: “There’s quite a strong heritage connection. As well as Swinden House, which is listed, there’s the stable block, walled garden and the lodge, which are curtilage listed and so have the same protection.”
Site owners Tata Steel announced in 2014 that the research operation would move to the University of Warwick. It is expected to close by the end of this year.
Swinden House was built by solicitor Thomas Badger between 1878 and 1880 and used by the fire service during the Second World War before becoming a steel centre.
Other buildings, like the more modern laboratories, will be demolished to make way for homes of two to five bedrooms.
Mr Silcocks said: “When TATA originally bought the site, they operated only from Swinden House but added more buildings as they were needed.
“Our assessment found conversion of the labs would mean a loss in the millions of pounds. The new parts will include similar features that respect what’s there at the moment.”
Potential parking problems are the main concern because the site is close to Rotherham Hospital.
A residents-only scheme was introduced at the Duke of Norfolk estate in 2015 and another is planned for Moorgate Road and Mile Oak Road because of hospital staff, patients and visitors parking on the streets.
Peter Hawkridge, secretary of Rotherham District Civic Society, said: “We welcome the proposal to retain Sitwell House in addition to the listed and curtilage structures.
“It has always been considered that its lack of listed status was a bureaucratic error given that it was built in the same year and by the business partner of the owner of Swinden House.
“In 2002, outline planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of this site with 190 dwellings and Sitwell House was to be demolished.”
He added: “One of the key concerns expressed by a number of visitors to the public consultation was the potential overspill from the severe parking problems at the hospital.”
Mr Silcocks said there had been a lot of interest at the drop-in, held at the Carlton Park Hotel last Wednesday.
He added: “We had people turn up an hour early to see the plans. The first person I spoke to asked if she could buy a house on here.
“The site has always been in private use. A lot of residents who live close by didn’t even realise what was there.”