Forge Island Flood Defence Works & Public Realm

Flood defence and public realm improvements
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
NEC3 Option A


Provision of Forge Island Flood Defence Works and Public Realm Improvement Scheme along the canal embankment within Forge Island.

The site is bordered by the River Don to the east and Sheffield and South Yorkshire to the west, covering an area of 1.96ha including the existing river and canal wash walls and Forge Lane.

The site is accessed from the vehicular bridge to the south and Bridge Street to the north. There are also two pedestrian foot bridges, one linking the town centre to the east and a stone canal bridge located at the start of the canal dock to the west of the site.

The scheme forms part of the regeneration of Rotherham Town Centre regeneration and the Rotherham Renaissance Flood Alleviation Scheme (RRFAS). This is a borough wide scheme designed to reduce fluvial flood risk currently posed to existing infrastructure and planned regeneration in Rotherham Town Centre and the precursor to Muse Developments Forge Island leisure led regeneration.


The works include the construction of public realm with an amphitheatre on the riverbank and installation of an embedded sheet-pile flood defence walls aligned approximately 8 metres adjacent to the western edge of the canal to create a high quality, modern waterside destination for Forge Island.

The public realm and landscaping works include:

  • The creation of an improved, welcoming gateway onto Bridge Street ahead of future regeneration of Forge Island and this important frontage onto the town centre
  • An upgrade canal side path and railings using high quality, robust and low maintenance materials
  • New Seating including freestanding benches, build in planter seats and amphitheatre terraces
  • New Lighting through low level and wall mounted fixtures
  • Significant new planning within a series of sculptural raised beds and improvement of existing bank. This includes a mix of planning types to create a low maintenance year round display, habitat creation and a range of native species
  • Opportunities for leisure and heritage interpretation boards – to be fitted. Forge Island has a rich industrial past
  • A transformed setting for Rotherham Locks, introducing a terraced amphitheatre to create a destination and venue for events and activity
  • A 3/4m wide access route from Bridge Street to Rotherham Lock for maintenance vehicle use

Key Challenges

  • We were notified by the Council that they had not obtained planning permission to commence the sheet piling works. The site was then flooded early into the works which resulted in part of the canal wall collapsing which subsequently we were instructed to repair
  • Further delays were encountered due to shared occupancy on site with another main contractor. As part of the sheet piling works it was necessary to sheet pile in front of the entrance to the site.  Due to access requirements required by third parties, we were instructed to suspend sheet piling works until they had left site
  • Working on a site adjacent to an active canal
  • Significant number of unidentified stats in the northern part of the site
  • At 48 hours’ notice, we provided a site for a COVID testing station

There were many design changes and revisions to the scope throughout the works and EWCE liaised closely with the client and designer to ensure the effects of these changes were minimised where possible.

Added Value

  • EWCE’s experience in delivering similar schemes allowed meaningful input into problem solving situations
  • There were several occasions where solutions and designs were adopted to overcome a technical issues on site. For example, the amphitheatre design was added to the works as there were poor ground conditions which made the original design unbuildable. EWCE took on, throughout the contract, a considerable amount of design responsibility

Related Case Studies

Civil Engineering / Dams / Renewables / Reservoirs
Civil Engineering / Dams / Renewables / Reservoirs
Civil Engineering / Dams / Renewables / Reservoirs

Get in Touch

For all enquiries, please get in touch with the team here at Eric Wright.