Works to prepare the former Primark building on Rotherham High Street for demolition are now underway.
Following the Council’s purchase of the building in November 2020 using funding from the Towns Fund Accelerator programme, the planning application for permission to demolish the building and replace it in the short term with a pocket park and high-quality public space was granted on 1 February 2021.
Subject to necessary planning consents, longer term plans include developing the site for new town centre residential living.
Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, Cllr Denise Lelliott, said: “These are exciting times for Rotherham Town Centre with contracts also being signed between Arc Cinemas and the developers, Muse, to create a new leisure complex on Forge Island.
“The plans for the former Primark building will complement the work that is already underway to create a more attractive area on the High Street and add to the leisure offer that is being developed to encourage families to socialise in attractive and diverse surroundings.
“We are having to adapt and move away from the more traditional use of the town centre, much like other areas across the country. We’re looking at what Rotherham town centre needs to thrive and that means thinking differently and looking at how people will live in and use the town centre in years to come.”
The plans form part of the Town Centre Masterplan which includes £30m plus funding for three major housing developments at Wellgate, Westgate and Sheffield Road, as well as improvements to open spaces across College Street, Bridgegate, Howard Street and Effingham Street.
The Rotherham Town Centre Investment Fund, which was establish by the Council to deliver the Masterplan, is funding the town centre regeneration with further funding being sought from other sources including the Government’s Future High Streets Fund and Transforming Cities Fund.