Developer wins permission for two regeneration projects

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REGENERATION schemes in two Pennine towns are set to move a step forward after a Barnsley-based developer gained planning permission for two projects in South Yorkshire.

Dransfield Properties’ scheme in Penistone, for a block of 21 offices on land fronting St Mary’s Street, has been dubbed the “Penistone Gateway” and is described as the “final piece in the jigsaw” of the town’s £15m redevelopment project.

So far the developer has been behind a new Tesco supermarket, fire and ambulance stations, a bowling green and council offices in the town.

However, the firm came under fire last week after residents said they never received a piece of compensatory land which they believed was going to be sold to Barnsley Council as public space, to make up for part of the town’s showground which was lost to the new supermarket.

Land for this latest development was originally earmarked for a block of flats, but Barnsley Council has now passed a planning application for six new commercial units, up to 21 first floor office units and 25 car parking spaces.

Development surveyor at Dransfield Properties, David Hale, said: “This is the final piece of the jigsaw in our plans for Penistone town centre.

“The development is on a key site in the town and is one of the first things visitors see.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield Council has backed plans for new facilities at Tata Steel – formerly known as Corus – to form part of a regeneration scheme in Stocksbridge.

The authority’s planning board unanimously approved the application submitted by Stocksbridge Regeneration Ltd for a new testing facility for the town’s steelworks.

Its plans also include new car parking and the relocation of one of Tata Steel’s despatch facilities to the company’s main site.

The proposals are part of the £46m retail and office development being planned in Stocksbridge, on the northern edge of Sheffield, which is being created on a former industrial site opposite the Tata Steel steelworks.

The application from Stocksbridge Regeneration – a partnership between Dransfield Properties and Warwickshire-based Gallagher Developments – also includes new pedestrian walkways linking the main Manchester Road to the new development.

A further application for 140 houses is also due to be considered by the council next month.

The main scheme in Stocksbridge was approved by Sheffield Council in 2009 and work is scheduled to start next year, bringing a 63,000 sq ft food store as well as further retail space.

The 15-acre site is made up of land now cleared by Outokumpu as well as the Tata Steel despatch facility which is being relocated.

Retail property director for Dransfield Properties, Andrew Malley, said: “This is an important step forward in the delivery of our plans for Stocksbridg.

“Relocating the steel despatch facility releases an important part of the site and the plans for the new test house have created a great opportunity to design a really impressive landmark building.”

Mark Broxholme, general manager of Stocksbridge-based Tata Steel Speciality, added: “As the town’s largest employer with 800 employees – the majority of whom live locally – we want to be part of the regeneration of Stocksbridge.

“We will continue to work with the developers and the authorities to secure the best deal for Stocksbridge and to continue to develop a sustainable steelworks in the town.”

Criticism of the Stocksbridge scheme has come from independent traders and shopkeepers, who say they fear the retail development will take cash out of local business and place it in the hands of national firms instead.

The Federation for Small Businesses said that the office and retail development would be an “out of town retail park populated predominantly by multi-national retailers which will draw trade away from existing retail outlets in the town centre.”