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Rotherham's High Street revival continues

posted 23 Sep 2011, 07:29 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 23 Sep 2011, 07:36 ]
A heritage-led regeneration scheme to continue the further restoration of historic High Street properties is the latest initiative in the revival of Rotherham Town Centre.

Work is now underway or about to start, on four more key properties as part of the £3.5 Townscape Heritage Initiative, (THI) which is supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Rotherham Borough Council.

The project sees property owners and long-term lease holders secure grants enabling them to restore, renovate and repair their historic buildings, which are all within a conservation area.  The aim is to encourage new shops, apartments and businesses to locate in the town centre. Activities include; 

Work is on-going on the restoration of the missing corner turret and special ornate features unique to the facade of the building at 22-30, High Street, as well as repairs to the roof and windows. Remembered by many as the former Muntus department store, interior work on the current SNAFU bar is also taking place.

Further along the High Street, plans are being progressed to restore features at 14a, the RSPCA shop, and convert the upper floors into apartments.  A planning application has also recently been submitted for the restoration of numbers 10 - 12, where clothing store Caprice moved in over the summer.  This building was custom-designed for Boots The Chemist in the 1950’s and the 'modern' coloured glass panels will be reinstated.

At the top of the High Street and across from the recently-refurbished Imperial Buildings, work is set to begin this month on the art-deco Essoldo Chambers. The former Empire Cinema is now home to a nightclub and Italian restaurant and the faded façade will be restored to bring back the building’s true colour.  The upper floors will be converted into apartments after the restoration work has been completed.

Coun. Gerald Smith, Rotherham Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Town Centres, Economic Growth and Prosperity said: "Rotherham is blessed with historic buildings that have medieval history as well as examples of Georgian, Victorian, art-deco and fifties architecture.  These are character buildings that deserve to be restored and which cannot be found in shopping malls and retail parks.

"Previous high-standard, THI refurbishments and the renovated Imperial Buildings nearby show that heritage-led projects are an effective way of regenerating Rotherham town centre.

"Along with other initiatives such as the Vitality grants that are helping to attract independent retailers into the area, we are now seeing a lot more life back in Rotherham town centre."

One key building that has already been faithfully restored is Hamby’s shoe shop and neighbouring properties at No’s 32 -36 High Street. The restoration of the former Mason’s Jewellers was completed last year after the building was cleaned, the roof and windows repaired, the missing corner turret and Mason’s signage were reinstated.