Forging ahead - Cabinet set to kick-start flagship leisure development


Work on Rotherham’s new multi-million-pound Forge Island leisure development is set to start within weeks.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet will consider a change to funding arrangements to kick-start the project, which would see the Council providing the upfront capital costs in return for revenue income generated from rents, car parking and other commercial activity at the site.

The Council’s development partner, Muse has already secured a number of high-profile tenants to the regenerated riverside site in Rotherham Town Centre, including Arc Cinema, Travelodge Hotel and five new eateries.

Following changes in the private investment markets, the Cabinet report advises that Council funding for the scheme now offers the most efficient and effective way to deliver the scheme, providing significantly better value for money for the Council and local taxpayers.

Although private investors remain interested in funding the scheme, the previous plans to fund the project through private capital were under review after turbulence in the financial markets and which has created uncertainty in the national economy.

The Council’s Cabinet will consider the proposal at its meeting on 17 October. Subject to agreement, work is expected to start on site before the end of October.

Councillor Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Economy at Rotherham Council said: “Forge Island is the flagship development in our Town Centre masterplan, so this is very exciting news. It’s become clear in recent months that volatility in the financial markets is making private financing of Forge Island less viable and would lead to further delays.

“By incorporating the scheme into the Council’s capital programme, we can have contractors on site within weeks and begin to realise a commercial benefit for taxpayers directly and much sooner.”

As well as securing pre-letting agreements with high-profile tenants to occupy Forge Island, preparation work for the development has also included the appointment of a main contractor, site investigations and archaeology, the construction of flood defences and design.

Further information about the Forge Island Development is available at 

Published: 6th October 2022