Monday, December 9, 2013

News: More council cash for High Street

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Rotherham's High Street is set for another £500,000 boost via Rotherham Council to enable building works to historic buildings to be completed and improvements to the physical appearance of the surrounding area to be carried out.

The council's cabinet recently approved the provision of an additional £140,000 in the form of a long term capital finance loan to enable the refurbishment works to be completed at The Three Cranes and former Georgian Town House on the High Street.

Local businessman, Chris Hamby is creating a complex of mixed-used retail outlets focusing on listed buildings on the High Street. The plan is already backed by a £750,000 long term capital finance loan from Rotherham Council that has secured £677,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) for additional, much needed works.

The work is part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) scheme that sees property owners and long term lease holders secure grants enabling them to restore, renovate and repair their historic buildings which are all within a conservation area. The aim is to encourage new shops, apartments and businesses to locate in the town centre.

The original THI programme also had an allocation of £580,000 to "develop and improve the public realm on High Street thus reinforcing the regeneration of the location and improving the setting of the retail units."

These works were to be wholly funded through money from regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward but when the coalition government disbanded Yorkshire Forward, the funds were withdrawn, leaving a gap in the budget for the public realm works.

A report to the council's Cabinet Member and Advisers for Regeneration and Development shows that officers have now put together a plan to use various sources of its own funding to enable the works to be carried out with a reduced budget of £417,000. The majority comes from its own capital programme (£305,500).

Previous council public realm improvements in the surrounding area include the work to Minster Yard and successful Minster Gardens project.

The report said that if the funding was approved, the works could start in April and take 20 weeks to complete.

Images: Tom Austen

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