Offices primed to advance in Doncaster
Town Deal backing is in position to fund the 52,000 sq ft council-led development, which will bring a five-storey office block to a site next to the city’s railway station.
Willmott Dixon is in place as main contractor. Planner nineteen47 and architect lead the professional team, which includes Rider Levett Bucknall, transport advisor Bryan G Hall, BJB Consulting, OFR, SDA and Pace Consult.
The brownfield site currently contains a mix of commercial uses, including the Trafford Court offices, the Wolsey Plumb Centre and vacant retail unit, which formerly housed a mobility shop.
Ground floor food & beverage is proposed for the development, which comes forward on a site designated in the adopted Doncaster Local Plan within “Town Centre and Main Urban Area Mixed Use Sites – St Sepulchre Gate West”.
In all, the proposal is for around 48,000 sq ft of office space supported by ground floor F&B.
Planning officers said that the scheme has “the potential to kickstart the regeneration of the whole St Sepulchre Gate West area and provide a much needed class of offices within the city centre boundary”.
The site is bisected by West Street, and the plan is for the office building to be built on the longer part, currently housing the plumbing centre and parking, with the Valley Gardens green public space to be created on the smaller portion, presently home to the 1980s Trafford Court.
In all, £25m has been secured from the Towns Fund programme. The site is bounded by the station and its forecourt, the A630 Trafford Way to the east, and West Street to the south-west, beyond which is the Railway pub and station parking.
There are two listed buildings in the area, the station itself and the Grand Theatre.
Along with apartments and further commercial space, the office proposals form part of the Doncaster Gateway programme signed off by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities in 2022, spending which must be completed by 2026
Doncaster’s project is intended to continue the regeneration of this area of the city centre, following the redevelopment of the station forecourt, where the council completed a major improvement project in 2020.
Officers said: “The proposal would create a high-quality soft landscaping public realm improvement, which would follow on from the improved pedestrian and visitor access between the railway station and the city centre.”
In addition, said officers, the proposal “would create an area of public open space which would be predominately green in nature with substantial tree planting, this type of green space is lacking within the city centre and improves the offer for areas of enjoyment/recreation within the city centre itself. Furthermore, the introduction of green space such as this would substantially improve biodiversity within the city centre.”
Although most of the buildings in the area are two-storey, the intention is for this to be a catalyst in bringing scale to what is seen as a key gateway site.
The plans, which will be considered on 9 January at planning committee, can be viewed on the City of Doncaster planning portal with the reference 23/02052/4FULM.