A new flood wall and two sets of gates are being planned to help protect Rotherham’s proposed Forge Island development from future freak weather - opening up the opportunity to improve the entire area for pedestrians with new paths, improved security and an amphitheatre.
The main Forge Island developments, which will include a hotel, cinema and restaurants among its attractions, will be effectively lifted above the flood plain on a podium, with the proposed defences linking with other work upstream on the River Don to protect the surrounding area.
Flood alleviation work dates back to the period following the severe flooding of 2007 and the proposed work would protect the west of the site with a new defence wall running the length of the site, designed to stop water from the River Don affecting the site.
Flood gates would be installed at the Bridge Street and Main Street ends of the site.
A report to be considered by councillors states: “The flood wall will be complemented by extensive public realm improvements comprising ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ landscaping, resurfaced footways and a stepped amphitheatre beside Rotherham Lock.
“Existing heritage features will be retained wherever possible.
“A design has been agreed with numerous land owners and agencies including the Environment Agency and the Canal and River Trust.”
Work to improve public areas should have the effect of ‘softening’ the impact of the new defences as well as making the area more welcoming for the public, linking in to existing facilities.
“A large proportion of Forge Island is now operated as a council owned car park/temporary bus station. The canalside presents a unique opportunity in the heart of Rotherham to form a high quality gateway from the train station and an informal leisure resource for visitors that celebrates Forge Island and sets the scene for the site’s future regeneration,” councillors have been told.
Discussions are still going on between the council and the Environment Agency about how the new flood defences would be maintained.