Work on a key redevelopment site in Rotherham centre could start as early as next year after it was bought by the borough council.
The authority exchanged contracts with Tesco for Forge Island on Monday, enabling it to press ahead with a £43.5 million regeneration plan.
The council wants the land to play a major part of the town centre masterplan currently being drawn up by urban design company WYG Group.
Rotherham Council’s strategic director of regeneration and investment Damien Wilson said the authority was now well-placed to work with developers and investors to maximise the opportunities of the unique town centre site.
He added: “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.”
The council's cabinet member for jobs and the local economy Denise Lelliott said purchasing the land was key to delivering the wider town centre vision.
She added: “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.”
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.
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