A new masterplan to regenerate Rotherham town centre so it can compete with Meadowhall is to be drawn up.
Rotherham Council commissioners and cabinet members have approved the creation of a new plan for the next decade that will potentially result in the building of a new cinema and theatre, as well as town-centre and waterfront housing.
It is expected that a firm will be appointed in September to help create the plan.
A report to councillors said the aim of the plan is to create a ‘connected and prosperous wider town centre’ that will create jobs and increase the town’s ‘profile as a major leisure and visitor destination’.
It said Rotherham ‘has suffered from a lack of private sector retail investment and high vacancy rates over the past couple of decades, primarily as a result of strong competition from Meadowhall and the Parkgate Centre, compounded by the economic downturn’.
With Meadowhall bosses planning further expansion, the report said the masterplan should provide ‘greater certainty to existing businesses and potential investors’ about proposed developments.
The report stated a new cinema could be built as part of a leisure development including a hotel, gym and restaurant on the site of the former Tesco store on Forge Island. The council is also in discussions with the Ministry of Justice about potentially redeveloping the site of the adjacent Magistrate’s Court, which is due to close later this year.
It is hoped new housing and business space can be created on Sheffield Road, while the Rotherham Interchange bus station could also be redeveloped.
The report to councillors stated the Interchange currently ‘suffers from a perception that it is unsafe and unwelcoming’.
It said potential redevelopment of the site could bring new opportunities to the area and the nearby Corporation Street, ‘which has been in gradual decline as a retail destination’.
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