Multi million-pound regeneration for Yorkshire town


Muse and Henry Boot among firms contracted for remodelling of Rotherham. 

Plan of Forge Island
Credit: Rotherham Council.

To date, Rotherham Council has secured more than £100 million in funding and investment for its regeneration programme. 

The areas of development will mainly focus on the town centre, Forge Island, and the immediate neighbourhoods surrounding it. 

Following its 2017 Master Plan, the town aims to improve connectivity and community living by focusing on independent businesses, introducing more leisure facilities, and establishing housing within the centre. 

Funding breakdown

Major funding sources for the project include: 

  • Future High Street Fund: £12.6 million
  • Town Deal/Fund: £31.6 million, plus £1 million for acceleration
  • Levelling Up: £19.5 million x3
  • Council Capital TCF: £26.2 million
  • Forge Island Capital: £46.8 million

The Town’s Fund, Future High Street and one of the bids from the Levelling Up Fund will be used to forward projects specifically in the town centre. 

The combined pot facilitates the creation of a new market and library, major public realm and infrastructure improvements as well as land assembly for a new residential community.

In addition, the Forge Island Capital Fund will commit to developing a major new leisure complex that will involve an eight-screen cinema, a 69-room Travelodge Hotel, and currently six food and beverage outlets. 

“The things that are probably quite particular to Rotherham is the amount of retail competition that we’ve historically had,” said Simon Moss, Rotherham Council’s assistant director of planning, regeneration & transport

“We want to move town away from big retail, towns tend to be in places to do things, rather than places just to go and buy things. We are increasing our focus on leisure, and on the housing side of the town centre, becoming more like local communities in their own right.”

On the job

To execute this multi-level project, Rotherham Council is working with: 

  • Muse Development 
  • Bowmen and Kirkland
  • Henry Boot
  • Esh Group 

Muse Development is the leading firm working on the Forge Island section of the project. They in turn have contracted Bowmen and Kirkland. 

Muse has also partnered with FaulknerBrowns Architects and SH Structures to build a 46m long bridge that will connect the town centre to the complex. 

The bridge has been modelled after WWII Bailey Bridge, which was designed and developed by Rortherham-born Donald Bailey.  

Henry Boot will be working on the redevelopment of the market and library section of the town.

Esh Group is working on a new business centre situated in Wath Upon Dearne, away from the town centre, but a major beneficiary of Rotherham’s third Levelling Up Fund bid. 


Forge Island will be the first section of the project to be completed in Summer 2024. The market and library sector are expected to conclude in 2026. 

 Public realm improvements have been underway since 2020 and will continue to be delivered in phases for the next three years

Work on a new residential community in the town centre has also begun and will continue for the next four to five years.

For future prospects, the Council is working on an infrastructure bid, lobbying for the Town’s Fund to invest in a new mainline station to the North of the town centre. 

This would allow travellers from Rotherham to access mainline trains to London and Edinburgh, without having to go to neighbouring towns like Sheffield and Doncaster. 

Full Scope 

The project aims to not only bolster community and entertainment in the town but also employ local investment.

“We recently took a cabinet report to approve the procurement of a Rotherham Construction Partnership Framework, it’s a new iteration of a previous one, but we want to use this one so that we can maximise social value,” said Simon Moss. 

“We want to get the most benefit for the Borough and for residents, and part of using that procurement process will be used to benefit the local economy, the local people, and to generate skills and opportunities.” 

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