Friday, January 9, 2015

News: 10,000 new jobs aim in Rotherham Growth Plan

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An "Innovation District" focused around the AMP, continued support for growing businesses and further regeneration in the town centre, all form part of a new economic plan to help deliver 10,000 new private sector jobs in Rotherham over the next ten years.

Developed by the council's economic development team, the new plan sits alongside the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP's) Growth Plan which set an ambitious target of creating 70,000 new jobs in the region by 2023, and aims for "a city region with a stronger and bigger private sector that can compete in national and global markets."

Currently out for consultation, other main aims of the Rotherham Growth Plan are to help create 750 additional new businesses over the next five years and to increase gross value added (GVA), a measure in economics of the value of goods and services produced in an area, for the Rotherham economy.

Alongside council priorities, the plan is a partnership between the public, voluntary and private sectors and focus on the main themes of growing businesses, skills, employment land, housing, the town centre and transport.

The vision is based on "creating an economy in which business will prosper and local residents will have the enterprise and employment opportunities which reflect their ambitions and skills."

The focus will be on private sector business and skills to deliver the "challenging figure" of 10,000 new jobs, while ensuring that planning, housing, transport and education play a full supporting role. Rotherham's economic development team and consultants Ekosgen believe that the employment target will be met through the growth of existing businesses, as well as attracting new inward investment, from both national and international companies. New business will also make an important contribution to creating new employment opportunities for local residents.

Simeon Leach, economic development manager at Rotherham Council, said in a report: "Built on a robust evidence base, clear strategy and challenging economic outcomes, the Rotherham Growth Plan will map out a programme of investment in economic infrastructure and activities over the short, medium and long term. The plan will be a partnership between the public, voluntary and private sectors.

"With the relative volatility of the world economy, the plan will cover a maximum five to ten year timeframe, with regular reviews built in to ensure it stays relevant during this period."

The draft plan includes a number of priority projects and programmes including a defined "Innovation District" which aims to build on the success of the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and take advantage of the proposed HS2 station and tram-train. Other projects include bringing forward a high quality business park at Todwick North; and boosting the visitor economy with a leisure development at the Pit House West site.

The plan also focuses on the continued regeneration of the town centre with a redeveloped markets complex, a potential office development or a cinema on Forge Island; a town centre hotel and cinema; 2,000 new residential units and a potential University Campus as part of the Rotherham College site.
Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO), the regeneration arm of Rotherham Council, is expected to play a key role in terms of supporting growing business in the borough. This includes continued support to Rotherham businesses with greatest potential for growth and a one-stop shop for local business start-ups, both underpinning the Growth Hub planned across the Sheffield city region.

The "Rotherham Investment Product" will create a menu of interventions that companies require to help drive growth and an "Investor Package" will highlight the offer available to businesses seeking to invest in Rotherham.

Other interventions include building on the success of RiDO's dedicated business incubation centres and the Rotherham Ready and Rotherham Youth Enterprise programmes in supporting young people to start businesses.

To support further economic and employment growth, the skills of the Rotherham workforce will be enhanced with interventions based on apprenticeships, careers advice and higher level skills. A "Skills Bank" that meets the needs of Rotherham businesses mirrors the initiative proposed by the Sheffield City Region LEP.

Following on from the borough's Local Plan, the Growth Plan will go further to identify "Growth Zones" that encompass specific sites and seek to group them together into more meaningful developments that can attract new investment and grow existing businesses in the borough. This could see zones covering the Lower Don Valley, Templeborough and Meadowbank Road; Todwick North; and Eastwood.

Although the amount of public funding has reduced considerably over recent years, the draft plan states that there is still funding available for certain economic activity. This includes bidding via the Sheffield City Region LEP and their plans for Government and European funding.

Consultation on the draft Growth Plan is taking place with a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties, this will continue until January 30.

Images: Harworth Estates / Tom Austen

1 comments:

Anonymous,  January 11, 2015 at 10:43 AM  

More pie in the sky !

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