Plans have been drawn up to change the look of Rotherham High Street through the demolition of the former Primark building.
The owners of the retail unit have sought a buyer for some time but without success, primarily due to the size of the building.
The Council has now purchased the site using funding from the Towns Fund Accelerator programme and plans would see the building demolished and replaced, in the short term, with a pocket park and a high-quality public space.
Subject to necessary planning consents, longer term plans include developing the site for new town centre residential living.
Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, Cllr Denise Lelliott, said: “These are exciting and significant developments that will complement the work we are already undertaking to transform Rotherham Town Centre.
“The short-term plan, creating a pocket park, will help to create a more attractive area on the High Street and add to the leisure offer that is being developed to encourage families to socialise in attractive and diverse surroundings.
“Town centres across the country are having to adapt as their traditional uses start to change. We’re looking at what Rotherham town centre needs to thrive and that means thinking differently and looking at how people will live in and use the town centre in years to come. Long term residential plans for the site will contribute to the changes that we are delivering through the Town Centre Masterplan including three new housing developments and the leisure scheme at Forge Island.”
Redevelopment of the site will start in early 2021 with the demolition of the building, which will be the subject of a planning application given its location within a conservation area.
The plans form part of the Town Centre Masterplan which includes £30m plus funding for three major housing developments at Wellgate, Westgate and Sheffield Road, as well as improvements to open spaces across College Street, Bridgegate, Howard Street and Effingham Street.
The Rotherham Town Centre Investment Fund, which was establish by the Council to deliver the Masterplan, is funding the town centre regeneration with further funding being sought from other sources including the Government’s Future High Streets Fund and Transforming Cities Fund.