Part of Swinton town centre could be redeveloped with ageing public buildings making way for new facilities in addition to at least 70 new homes under proposals to be considered by Rotherham Council.
The authority owns a parcel of land in the town centre and has previously agreed that it should be subject to regeneration but now councillors on the ruling Cabinet are being asked to decide whether the site should be given over to a developer – a move which would generate most income for the council – or to include replacement of the existing library, customer service centre and Civic Hall.
It is anticipated they would be replaced by a smaller, multi-function building which would provide modern facilities and free the council from looming maintenance costs for the existing buildings, which date from the 1970s.
That is the option councillors are being recommended to accept, though it would generate less cash income for the council.
Details of the regeneration work would be decided as part of the process of appointing a developer to work with the authority, but the site is regarded as suitable for at least 70 new homes and there would also be new public open space.
A report to the Cabinet states: “A reduction in the capital receipt will allow the improvement and redevelopment of the area.
“It will provide rationalised and improved community facilities and improvements to the retail and residential units, which all remain as Council assets.
“This option will also mitigate some revenue pressures on the Council for the backlog maintenance and repair of the existing buildings and public realm.”
The report suggests that costs for maintaining new public open space should be handed to a management company to avoid the council facing ongoing maintenance charges, a practise which is increasingly common.
In Barnsley the council has started to investigate the way such contracts are managed and future payments calculated, with a suggestion that in future the increased management charges faced by residents could be capped at the inflation rate.