Thursday, March 30, 2017

News: Partnership launch long-term strategy for Rotherham

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High profile economic development and regeneration projects are helping to create a new perspective for Rotherham.

Developed as Rotherham Together Partnership's long-term strategy for the borough, the Rotherham Plan 2025 has been officially launched this week. It provides a framework for partners' joint efforts to create a borough that "is better for everyone who wants to live, work, invest or visit here."

The plan is based around five "game changers": building stronger communities, skills and employment, integrated health and social care, a place to be proud of and the town centre.

The new Rotherham Together Partnership was launched in September 2015. It brings together a wide range of organisations, including major public bodies. Its Business Growth Board is responsible for the delivery of the ten-year Rotherham Economic Growth Plan which feeds into this new plan and includes indicators on business starts, employment, skill levels and vacant units in the town centre.

The skills and employment section describes how partners across Rotherham and the wider city region will develop a work and health programme that provides comprehensive support to help people secure, sustain and thrive in employment.

Key to improving skill levels will be the development of a £12m university campus in the town centre. Rotherham College, part of RNN Group, is moving fast having secured funding and will open the centre to students in Autumn 2018, offering a new programme of degrees and degree apprenticeships.

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The section on creating a place to be proud of references the approach to "place shaping", overseen by the new, business-led place board, that will help to create a new identity for Rotherham. The Rotherham Story was launched last month as the first step in marketing and repositioning the borough with ambassadors or "pioneers" selling Rotherham as a place to live and do business.

The town centre has been given high status in the plan, mainly due to the strength of feeling from a range of residents during the consultation where "people were positive about parts of the town centre, particularly the Minster Gardens and High Street, but these were outweighed by the negatives."

The regeneration programme based on the new town centre masterplan, is set to be key in delivering a town centre that more people want to visit.

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council was at the launch event where he discussed the £160m of additional investment coming to Rotherham over the next few years - projects like Forge Island, the HE Campus, the Interchange, tram-train, Gulliver's Valley and Wentworth Woodhouse - and inward investment from the likes of McLaren and Liberty House.

The UK's first Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), set to be created in the Sheffield-Rotherham economic corridor, is used as a case study in the plan. AMID will be a nucleus of innovation and research in advanced manufacturing, with strengthened connections across new and existing firms and knowledge institutions that will benefit from close proximity to world-class technology facilities.
Cllr. Read said: "Rotherham people are resilient people. Year after year, decade after decade, we've faced down challenges and we've dealt with difficulty.

"In fact, if we've had a flaw, it’s that we've kept our heads down too much. We haven't understood why the rest of the world can't see all the brilliant things about our borough, when they stare us in the face. If folks down south wanted to think of us as smoggy and grey, that was their loss.

"We called the Plan we're launching today "A New Perspective" because it requires us to take a different point of view, to get the outside world to take a new look at us."

Rotherham Together Partnership website

Images: Rotherham Together Partnership / Bond Bryan


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