Meadowhall expansion will hit Rotherham’s Forge Island, say planners

PLANNERS at Rotherham Borough Council have objected to Meadowhall’s £300 million expansion plan, saying it will harm the Forge Island development.
An artist's impression what the leisure hall would look likeAn artist's impression what the leisure hall would look like
An artist's impression what the leisure hall would look like

The planning board at RMBC voted yesterday to raise concerns with Sheffield Council about the “significant adverse impact” this side of the border.

The council has said the potential loss of trade in Rotherham could be as much as £3.8 million a year.

Meadowhall’s proposed next phase of expansion will include new restaurants, a cafe court, gym and replacement cinema.

Plans for a leisure complex featuring a cinema, restaurants and bars are being drawn up for Forge Island, which RMBC bought in February.

A cinema development in Rotherham would be done in the context of comparable venues at Meadowhall and Valley Centertainment anyway.

But there is greater concern about competition for food and drink outlets - with the council worried franchises will prefer to open at Meadowhall.

A report to the planning board said: “The scale and land uses proposed as part of the Meadowhall expansion are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Rotherham town centre and planned investment in the Forge Island site.

“Given the close proximity, concerns are raised that some operators will not have the confidence to invest at Forge Island due to the strength of Meadowhall in the local catchment.

“This is a threat to both public and private investment as RMBC has recently purchased the site with the intention of facilitating redevelopment. 

“Private sector investment will also be affected as RMBC will not be able to secure a development partner to pursue the redevelopment as development viability will be affected.”

Planning board chairman Cllr Alan  Atkin said not objecting would lead to further harm for Rotherham town centre, adding: “If you have a body with six knife wounds, that’s bleeding, you don’t put another in.”