Thursday, October 22, 2015

News: Sign off for Rotherham growth plan

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Councillors in Rotherham have voted to approve the borough's growth plan so that it becomes a live document with ambitious targets 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."

Alongside council priorities, the plan is a partnership between the public, voluntary and private sectors and focuses on the main themes of growing businesses, skills, employment and inclusion, 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."

Another main aim 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.

It also highlights a number of priority projects and programmes that can help to meet the aims. These include developing an Innovation District focused around the AMP; helping to bring forward new employment sites, such as Todwick North and Waverley, for development; continued support for growing businesses and further regeneration in the town centre.

Town centre projects that have been identified include a potential new cinema and hotel, a redeveloped markets complex, a redeveloped Forge Island, a university campus and further residential development.

The potential leisure development at the council's Pit House West site is also highlighted. Here, Gulliver's Family Theme Parks is progressing plans for a £37m resort.

The economic growth plan also links closely to the borough's Local Plan, of which, the Sites and Policies document - which sets out the detailed sites and development management policies to deliver this growth - is currently out for final consultation.

With public sector funding thin on the ground, the plan will act as a policy bidding document for funds such as those coming via the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.

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 Economic Growth Plan maps out the priorities, objectives and outcomes for the borough, underpinned by a programme of investment in economic infrastructure and activities over the short, medium and long term.

"The Plan sets out the challenges and ambitions for each theme, along with high level interventions and targets/impacts/outcomes. Task & Finish Groups, with an 18 month lifetime, are being set up to produce detailed action plans for the delivery of these interventions and outcomes."

The final version of Rotherham Economic Growth Plan was signed off at a full council meeting this week. It will be monitored by the newly-formed Business Growth Board and reviewed during the 2016/17 financial year.

Rotherham Council website

Images: Harworth Estates

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