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Parkgate Shopping

Parkgate Retail World

Retail World at Parkgate was developed about thirty years ago on reclaimed land near the River Don that had once been part of the Parkgate Iron and Steel Company. The buildings consisted of big hangar-style units which were let to DIY shops and suchlike. Many of the units have been subdivided into smaller shops and the site has been extended once or twice since it opened. In 2007 it has been re-branded as 'Parkgate Shopping'.

There is a regular bus service from Rotherham Bus Station every ten minutes or so and from 2009 a free bus service from Rotherham Bus Station. However Retail World is situated just off the very busy route from Rotherham to Parkgate, Rawmarsh and points north. Consequently the traffic is frequently snarled up around here and at busy times such as Christmas and the sales it is utterly horrendous and jams up the roads for miles around. The system of traffic flow inside the retail park has been altered once or twice but does nothing to help the situation. Nor do the drivers who consider that the rules of the road do not apply to them once they get into the car parks – ignoring no entry signs, driving the wrong way down a one–way section and so on. Parking is free, however disabled and parent and child bays are frequently misused. Late in 2009 Rotherham's traffic wardens, known as Purple People Eaters have been contracted by Parkgate Management to ticket and fine misusers.

A recent improvement is a pedestrian crossing over the main road so the foot–soldiers can get to the bus stop without taking their life in their hands. About time too. The public loos there are also a fairly recent development considering how long the place has been open. The site has now been developed as Frankie and Benny's and I haven't found where the loos have gone.

Parkgate Retail World is now in effect the 'High Street' of Rotherham. Here you can find Marks & Spencer, British Home Stores, Currys, PC World, Matalan, Comet, Morrisons, Superdrug, Boots, Next, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, TMaxx, Homebase, Argos, HMV shop. I know I've forgotten quite a few. As you can see these are 'BIG' names in the shopping world. What you won't find are any small shops that sell thing different and unusual, nor will you find a post office though you could do with one, especially since the main Post Office in Parkgate closed.

The free bus service from Rotherham to Parkgate, despite being well-used, was to be scrapped from April 2014 as a money-saving exercise by SYPTE. A company has put up the money and this sevice has been restored though with a lesser service for the next two years.

At one time it was planned to extend the shopping area further back than it is now onto land adjoining Aldwarke Lane. To go with this there was mooted a new railway station and a new gyratory road system. I believe that planning permission for the new build was refused because Rotherham Council has already given permission for new building on Rawmarsh Road opposite Retail World (B&Q Depot and others). If you look behind what used to be Focus DIY on the retail park space has been left to develop a road system to cross the railway and join in with the Retail World road system. It doesn't look like this will happen any time soon either due to the costs involved in building a road bridge and the fact that the landowner is rumoured to want an arm and a leg to allow access.

Visit the Parkgate Retail World website at www.parkgateshopping.co.uk.

Foundry Retail Park

A bit further along the road towards Rawmarsh is the Foundry Retail Park, recently sold to new owners who want to expand into the spare acreage. Until recently there were quite a few vacant stores but some of these have been taken up. Here you can find free parking and stores eg: B&M Bargains, Wren Kitchens, Benson for Beds, The Range, some sofa place, whilst there is another sofa place over the road. Do people really swap theisr sofa that often? I've had mine 34 years with one re-cover and it's still in pretty good nick.

Page amended January 15

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