Demolition underway for South Yorkshire regeneration


Demolition works begin on a former Wilko building as part of the Rotherham town centre regeneration programme. 

Rotherham regeneration site.
Credit: Bowmer + Kirkland.

Construction and engineering firm, Bowmer + Kirkland, are leading the demolition of the former Wilko building at 4 Corporation Street as part of Rotherham’s town centre masterplan. 

Demolition of 4 Corporation Street site. Rotherham Borough Council acquired the site in January 2023, after Wilko, which had been a town centre staple for 127 years, closed its doors in June 2022. 

The site will be part of the Forge Island section of the project, which is valued at £46.8 million. 

Full scope 

Before the demolition, Bowmer + Kirkland stripped down the inside of the building to ensure that all asbestos was removed. 

Heavy plant machinery is currently at the back of the building and will continue to demolish the rest of the structure in stages. 

Demolition began in late April and will run for a period of six weeks. 

The council has clarified that part of the site will form a public realm in Forge Island while the remainder will be used temporarily as a contractors compound to deliver additional works taking place on Corporation Street. 

Once those works are complete, the site will be developed into the Art Deco cinema in Forge Island. 

Excess materials excavated and removed from the building will be recycled and re-used for other building projects around the UK. 

Wider regen developments 

Demolition of 4 Corporation Street site.

The council is acquiring more property, namely the compulsory purchase of 3-7 Corporation Street, which will be part of the Culture and Leisure Quarter of its masterplan. 

Overall investment into the regeneration programme has amounted to more than £100 million, and covers plans on transport, local business, and housing. 

The council has enlisted several firms and contractors to handle various areas of the programme, including: 

  • Muse Development are the leading developer of Forge Island that contracted Bowmer + Kirkland. 
  • Henry Boot will be managing the development of the market and library section. 
  • Esh Group is working on a new business centre away from the town centre, in the town of Wath-Upon-Dearne. 

Forge Island is expected to be open to the public by Summer 2024, with work in the market and library section to be completed by 2026. 


“With the crane now towering over the ongoing works on Forge Island and more town centre homes becoming occupied, we’re making progress on our plans to regenerate Rotherham town centre,” said Denise Lelliott, Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for business and economy.

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