THIS is the first look at how 171 properties will look in Rotherham town centre as council bosses invest £30 million to encourage more people to move there.
The residential project will mirror efforts being made to improve the leisure offer, a key part of which is the cinema and restaurants plan for Forge Island.
And RMBC hopes bringing housing to three disused industrial sites will catch the attention of private developers and kickstart a revival in town centre living.
David Mason, the council’s housing development co-ordinator, said: “The forthcoming transformation of Forge Island will help create many of the conditions for an attractive town centre residential offer.
“The market is still relatively underdeveloped and some of the potential sites are challenging but, by bringing forward this scheme within a similar timeframe to Forge Island, the council will demonstrate the demand for town centre living in Rotherham and provide the confidence for the private sector to invest.”
Planning applications have been filed for the developments on Wellgate, Sheffield Road and Westgate, which will include council, private and shared ownership houses and flats.
The former Henley’s garage site on Wellgate will have two blocks comprising 34 flats plus a row of 20 houses.
It will have shared ownership options and one of the blocks of apartments is proposed to be for over-50s only.
A report to RMBC’s cabinet said: “Older people within the borough use and support the town centre in disproportionately high numbers and many would benefit from the convenience of living there.
“However, perceived lifestyle clashes with younger residents can discourage some older people from taking up the opportunity.”
The proposal for the Sheffield Road car park site is 44 council houses and 34 private, while Millfold House on Westgate will have 25 council and 14 private.
Cllr Dominic Beck, cabinet member for housing, said: “These are exciting, significant proposals, which will totally transform three disused former industrial sites and kickstart a raft of new housing development in the town centre.
“A lot of hard work has gone into putting these plans together and I think we have come up with a fantastic scheme, which will contribute towards our ambitions for housing growth and town centre regeneration.”
The council’s town centre masterplan identified space for up to 2,000 properties.
It is thought the success of new leisure ventures could depend on having more people living centrally.
Applications to help with funding have been made to Sheffield City Region and Homes England.
RMBC’s own contribution will be mostly from a ring-fenced housing pot.
Approval from cabinet is expected on October 21 and building work could start in February, with the first homes available in spring 2021 and the entire scheme completed by early 2022.