COUNCIL bosses revised proposals for the Primark pocket park because the takeaways would have breached the authority’s own planning rules.
Three hot food pods were included — but would have been within 800 metres of Rotherham College, going against the “healthy communities” policy adopted last June.
The same rule has seen the refusal of Abby’s takeaway further up High Street, as well as food ventures at Ferham and Eastwood.
But RMBC has come up with a loophole to allow its own pods to go ahead — permanent use has been removed and they can only serve hot food at special events like Christmas and bank holidays, up to ten times a year.
The planning department has approved the amended plans for the site, which had no objections.
It is unclear how much of the pocket park will remain if long-term ambitions for 30 apartments at the former Primark site are delivered.
A council spokesman said: “The demolition of the existing building is supported from a conservation and heritage perspective and the pocket park will comply with the requirements of the relevant national and local planning policies.
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“Furthermore, the temporary nature of the application will allow for a longer term redevelopment scheme of the site.”
The retail unit closed in 2017 and was bought by RMBC last year. Work continues to prepare the building for demolition.
The mini park — to be called Snail Yard — will include picnic benches, public art and a link with Snail Hill.
Cllr Denise Lelliott, cabinet member for jobs and the local economy, said these were exciting times for the town centre, with Arc Cinemas signing up to operate the eight-screen theatre to be built on Forge Island.
She added: “The plans for the former Primark building will complement the work that is already underway to create a more attractive area on the High Street and add to the leisure offer that is being developed to encourage families to socialise in attractive and diverse surroundings.
“We are having to adapt and move away from the more traditional use of the town centre, much like other areas across the country.
“We’re looking at what Rotherham town centre needs to thrive and that means thinking differently and looking at how people will live in and use the town centre in years to come.”
The masterplan also includes £34.4 million being spent on housing at Wellgate, Westgate and Sheffield Road, and improvements to open spaces at College Street, Bridgegate, Howard Street and Effingham Street.
The projects are funded by RMBC and other sources, including the Government’s Future High Streets Fund and Transforming Cities Fund.