Burned-out buildings on Rotherham council’s shopping list

Burned-out buildings on Rotherham council’s shopping list

By Gareth Dennison | 07/04/2022

Burned-out buildings on Rotherham council’s shopping list


CORPORATION Street’s burned-out buildings are among “quite a substantial” list of sites RMBC is looking to buy.

Cabinet members voted in favour of the “strategic acquisitions” on Monday  — and compulsory purchase powers could be used.

The sites — most of which have not been made public — include land at Eastwood and around the potential new mainline railway station, expected to be at Parkgate.

Former nightclub Envy and diners Muskaan and Khyber Pass were destroyed in fires between 2005 and 2011 — and their charred remains on Corporation Street have been proudly welcoming visitors to town ever since.

Using CPO powers has been talked about for at least five years. A hotel plan was approved for Rothgen Ltd in 2019 but permission expired last summer.

And with building work finally set to start on the cinema in October, RMBC is looking to “build on” a direction set by cabinet in 2017, moving towards a compulsory purchase order.

A report to the same committee this week said the area was currently home to “a number of vacant, abandoned and derelict buildings” which have potential for redevelopment.

This time around, RMBC is better off to the tune of £82 million in funding secured from the government’s Town Deal, Levelling Up and Future High Streets funds.

Part of the Town Deal cash is for “providing improved housing and local connectivity for Eastwood”.

There is a feeling at RMBC that the high housing density is a cause of some of the area’s problems, and an early plan was to knock through some smaller properties to create larger houses.

The cabinet report said: “Plans are under way to bring forward a more diverse and better-quality housing offer on council owned sites as well as plans to improve connectivity.

“Future development of the area will depend on the re-use and redevelopment of strategically important sites to create a quantum of public sector owned land.”

Other areas mentioned for strategic acquisitions are the residential quarter along Sheffield Road, next to the River Don, and around the potential site of a new mainline railway station, which has a preferred location of Parkgate.

Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “You see this with councils doing regeneration projects everywhere: owning the asset is one of the key elements of being able to deliver it, and Rotherham Council owned and continues to own very little, in terms of land in the town centre.

“We started out with the money that was banked from the sale of Tesco on the Forge Island site, and that last round of town centre regeneration.

“We’ve actually contributed very little capital funding beyond that. But we have been very successful in securing external funding, much more than we imagined we could be a couple of years ago.”

“This puts us in a position where we’ve got this big programme to deliver that, but needing to acquire quite a substantial number of sites.”