Council purchases former Tesco site in key regeneration deal

Published Monday, 13th February 2017
Forge Island site
Forge Island site

Work on a key site in the heart of Rotherham town centre could start as early as next year after it was bought by Rotherham Council this week.

The Council moved one step closer to its plans to regenerate Forge Island by buying the land from Tesco to prepare it for development. The two parties exchanged contracts today (Monday).

The land will play a major part of the town centre masterplan which is currently being drawn up by global urban design company WYG Group.

Rotherham Council’s Strategic Director of Regeneration and Investment Damien Wilson said the Council is now well-placed to work with developers and investors to maximise the opportunities of the unique town centre site.

He said: “By taking control of this important site, we now have the ability to drive-forward positive change. Forge Island is a prime location sitting between the River Don and the South Yorkshire Navigation Canal – its unique position makes it attractive to investors and visitors alike. Forge Island is central to restoring the town’s night time economy and we’re looking forward to seeing it become a vibrant leisure quarter.”

Rotherham Council's Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy Cllr Denise Lelliott said purchasing the land was key to delivering the wider town centre vision.

She said: “We are delighted to have acquired this hugely important strategic site in the town centre and we are working with all stakeholders to bring forward its successful regeneration. We looking forward to seeing the plans to turn the island into a site the town can be proud of.”

Initial plans for the site were considered last year as part of the Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). A number of roadshows were undertaken across the borough with residents saying they wanted a ‘thriving and welcoming town centre’ with ‘plenty to do day and night’. WYG Group is now building on the work of the SPD, and drawing together other town centre initiatives.

WYG Group's Project Director Andrew Clarke said: “The acquisition of the Forge Island site by Rotherham Council is good news indeed. This site forms a vital part in the investment masterplan currently nearing completion for the town centre. Forge Island has, for a number of years, been a visible signpost of potential yet to be realised and the time to realise the potential of this key site is now one step closer. The publication of the draft investment masterplan in the coming months will set-out proposals for this key site and how development will be delivered.”

Detailed development proposals for the site are being prepared alongside the town centre masterplan. Demolition of the former Tesco building will take place in the coming months to enhance the site’s attractiveness to future developers. Temporary additional car parking will be provided at the site whilst plans are being developed.