Monday, January 23, 2017

News: Millions in funding for key Rotherham projects set for approval

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Over £10m of funding is set to be approved by Sheffield city region (SCR) officials for key regeneration projects in Rotherham - including the £12m Higher Education Campus and the revamp of Forge Island in Rotherham town centre.

The RNN Group has been successful in securing £3.5m from the Sheffield city region skills capital fund - a £13m pot for training space, workshop or launch pad facilities.

The SCR combined authority is set to sign off the bid at the end of January and proceed to Full Approval and Award of Contract.

The Centre for Higher Level Skills project involves the construction of a 35,500 sq ft campus in Rotherham town centre which is set to be built on the site where the former Victorian hospital at Doncaster Gate was controversially demolished by Rotherham Council.

The papers explain: "The centre will offer an employer driven curriculum providing the skills and competency training provision that best meets the needs of the local economy and is focused on key growth sectors.

"The curriculum offer will focus on higher level vocational training, apprenticeship, degree apprenticeships and foundation degrees. The Centre for High Level Skills will also be used to deliver full cost commercial training, host small conferences (aimed at employers and learners at the centre), seminars and other stakeholder activity such as business, skills and employment groups."

The bid would lead to the creation of 200 jobs and hopes to assist over 1,000 people in boosting their skills over the next five years.

The funding has a clawback clause of 30% based on learner number outcomes. In November, Rothbiz reported on Heads of Terms being issued by Lloyds Bank to the RNN Group for a loan of £4.5m to replace the existing Rotherham Council loan, together with £6m to fund the Higher Skills Centre project.

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Also set for sign off by the SCR combined authority is funding for £1.2m of transport improvements to support the proposed £37m leisure development adjacent to Rother Valley Country Park and expansion of the Vector 31 commercial development.

A £759,000 grant is to be matched with £384,000 from Rotherham Council for improvements to four existing junctions on the A618 and A57 network with traffic lights and extra lanes.

A bid for funding from Rotherham Council for its plans for a new £43.5m leisure development on Forge Island has been amended. The value for money indicators for a £1.5m grant have not been met but the money could still be forthcoming in the form of a bridging finance facility.

The upfront money is needed to acquire the site from Tesco, demolish the old supermarket and clear the site and enhance its attractiveness to future developers to deliver a leisure and cultural quarter (hotel, cinema plus A3 uses).

Further phases of the project include £6.1m of council investment in works relating to site remediation, flood issues and infrastructure works such as bridge repairs.

Phase 3 involves the procurement of a development partner to drive forward the development of the site for leisure and culture in partnership with the Council – including two adjacent sites for residential development. This will deliver 38 direct net jobs and six indirect net jobs.

The proposed £7m acquisition of the AMP Technology Centre is unlikely to be signed off by the end of January as due diligence on the Council's proposal continues.

Images: RNN Group / Bond Bryan


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