Rothwell town centre development rises at last

Councillor Karen Bruce, Councillor David Nagle, Angela Kellett photo

Rothwell Labour councillors Karen Bruce and David Nagle with local Labour campaigner Angela Kellett inspecting the site.

We’ve been calling for the Morrisons’ development to start for ages and myself and ward colleague Cllr David Nagle were eager that work got underway as soon as possible. The four retail units currently being built are the final part of the Morrisons’ re-development of Rothwell town centre.

After a long wait for residents and shoppers who had been faced with the sight of the hoarding for far too long, work on the empty area adjacent to Morrisons supermarket which has been boarded up for some time started.  Before work started a meeting took place between the Rothwell councillors and a representative of Morrisons as well as Leeds City Council highways department and area management team officers.  We were informed that the only way that the site could be accessed when work begins is through Commercial Street, this is because of the difference in level of the land to be developed and possible access nearer to the site.

It’s been great to see the progress with the units going up and work well underway, I’m keen to see the new retailers in place with the site regenerated at last. The hoarding has been an eyesore for locals and it will be good to see the new shops finally opening and the development complete.

Locals have told me how relieved they are to be able to at last see the development going up above hoardings level.  I know we’ll all be relieved to see the back of that hoarding we’ve had to put up with for so long, when the scheme is finished.

Since the work started I have also received comments about the condition of parts of Commercial Street. So I demanded another meeting with representatives of Morrisons and the contractors Simpson and met them yesterday.

We were given assurances before the work started, but concerns have been raised with me as Rothwell councillor that some of the lorries accessing Commercial Street aren’t being guided in by a banksman (a worker walking slowly in front of the vehicle) during pedestrianised hours to ensure that people feel safe. I specifically asked for this and was given assurances and although this was happening I want to make sure it continues.

I have been given assurances that a banksman will be used, even for one off deliveries to the site, and that everyone involved will be reminded of these terms.  We walked down Commercial Street to see the condition of the road and looked at two areas of concern. One is believed to have been caused by Northern Gas Networks when it dug up the street and put the road back together in a rather shoddy manner appearance wise. Highways will seek that Northern Gas Networks address this situation after the completion of the development as not to cause unnecessary delays. Another patch which is actually uneven and potentially unsafe is past the bus shelter at the other side of the road which needs a remedial repair immediately to make safe and level and then to put right properly later when the development finishes.

The units were due to be completed by late May this year, this is now expected to be early June, with at least two units trading soon after completion. The two units have now been confirmed as The Original Factory Outlet and Barnardos and this is now displayed on the hoardings. I’m told talks are on-going to secure the other two tenancies.

I hope this update is useful and if you want me to find out or take action with anything else then please get in touch.

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