The proposed Yes! project in Rotherham has been shelved because scheme backer, Oak Holdings, cannot find the money it needs to go ahead
Rotherham Council said it has now ditched a development agreement with Oak Holdings for the £350 million scheme designed by CZWG and Holder Mathias.
Last September councillors approved proposals for the leisure and conference resort on the former Pithouse West coal mine and has held the development agreement with Oak since May 2003.
In a company statement released on Monday, Oak Holdings said: ‘The global financial crisis and depressed property markets have resulted in Oak being unable to secure the funds needed to commence the development phase of the project.
‘As a result of these challenges, and notwithstanding Oak’s renewed planning consent on the Yes! project, [Rotherham Council] has taken the decision not to extend, and cancel the current development agreement.
‘The board is currently reviewing its options in respect of the notice but there is no indication at this stage that [the council] will agree to cancel the termination notice or extend the current development agreement.
‘If the situation changes a further announcement will be made.’
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Conservation lobby group the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has labelled the £300 million ‘Yes!’ project on the green-belt site as ‘inappropriate’ and ‘potentially devastating’.
The brainchild of architects CZWG and Holder Mathias, the scheme would completely transform the now-closed Pithouse West coal mine.
Plans for the new tourist ‘destination’ include an extreme sports centre, two hotels, a hi-tech outdoor driving range, spa facilities and a new railway station.
However, CPRE’s planning officer John King is demanding the development is turned down when it comes before Rotherham Council for outline permission tomorrow (Thursday 11).
He said: ‘The initiative is entirely unsuitable for this location. It makes no sense to devastate an attractive, regenerated green-belt site when previously developed, brownfield land in the area lies idle.’
However, the council is recommending the development, which is being backed by developer Oak Holdings, is conditionally approved even though it acknowledges that ‘the proposal represents inappropriate development in the green belt.’
It is understood the project will be called in by the regional Government Office should the application be given the go-ahead.