LONG-awaited plans for Corporation Street have been approved — with a condition of knocking down the burned-out buildings within 12 months.
Rotherham Borough Council’s planning board voted unanimously yesterday for Rothgen Ltd’s proposal for a 69-bed hotel plus restaurant and shop.
Board chairman David Sheppard said: “It’s a really positive step forward for what has long been a blighted area of the town centre. It’s a focal point for people arriving in the town.”
Cllr Jeanette Mallinder, who is deputy mayor, said the charred remains of nightclub Envy and diners Muskaan and Kyber Pass were often the first thing London-based visitors to the Town Hall mentioned.
Cllr John Williams congratulated the RMBC planning officers on attaching a condition to the permission which says the fire-damaged buildings must be demolished in 12 months.
And Cllr Mick Elliott added: “At long last, hopefully, we will see some action on this site. These buildings have been a complete eyesore for about 11 years.”
The scene — a gateway to the town centre from the train and bus stations — has long been a frustration for businesses, shoppers and residents.
Cllr Alan Atkin said: “We’ve wanted this area doing up for ages. It’s easy for people to say: ‘Why haven’t you done something about it?’
“But an Englishman’s home is his castle. If somebody owns something, you can’t force them that easily.”
Cllr John Turner said he had concerns about there being no parking provision but Cllr Bob Walsh said there would be a boost for Rotherham’s taxi trade.
Rothgen said the development will create 14 jobs.
A stepped design has been used in order to maintain views of Rotherham Minster from Chapel on the Bridge.
The Corporation Street buildings were destroyed by three fires between 2005 and 2011.