Council plans to set trend for town centre living as Rotherham regeneration creates new appeal

Moves to develop three ‘gateway’sites into Rotherham town centre for housing could create 171 new homes but senior councillors will be warned the authority would be attempting to create a new market, bringing ‘inherent risks’.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 2:21 pm
Updated Friday, 18th October 2019, 12:17 pm
Appeal: Developments like Forge Island will make Rotherham attractive to residents

However, a council backed scheme could help jump-start development in the area.

The developments would see the Sheffield Road car park, Millfold House and Henley’s garage site at Wellgate taken over for new housing, with a combination of rented, shared ownership and outright sale of those properties.

But because such homes in the town centre do not exist at present, the council would be “attempting to create a market, which carries inherent risks” members of the council’s ruling Cabinet will be told.

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However, they are being advised to press ahead with the scheme because the development should attract grants which are the only way to make the scheme viable.

Because the land is all brownfield, it would require remediation work to make it fit for house building and that would push costs beyond what was viable for a conventional development.

They are being recommended to press ahead with the scheme, which would be marketed under a new Rother Living brand.

A report states the new Forge Island development and other regeneration schemes would “help create many of the conditions for an attractive town centre residential offer.

“The market is still relatively underdeveloped and some of the potential sites are challenging but, by bringing forward this scheme within a similar timeframe to Forge Island, the council will demonstrate the demand for town centre living in Rotherham and provide the confidence for the private sector to invest.”

In total, there is capacity for the area to take around 2,000 new homes.

Rent from the council owned and shared ownership properties would generate more than half a million pounds a year in income for the council, with those sold providing fresh cash for the authority.

The report states: “Without the public subsidy that the council is securing, the sites remain an unviable proposition for private residential development, meaning that the sites would achieve nil value if sold with residential planning permission but without further site remediation.”