Thursday, February 29, 2024

News: Dinnington recommended for new banking hub


LINK, the UK’s Cash Access and ATM network, has announced that residents and businesses in Dinnington, Rotherham could soon find it easier to access banking services thanks to the addition of a new banking hub in the town. The announcement follows a request from local MP, Alexander Stafford.

The hubs are dedicated places where communities can access everyday personal and business banking services, such as withdrawing and depositing cash easily, or paying in cheques, over the counter. Owned by Cash Access UK, funded by the banks, and run by the Post Office, they're a way of bringing back banking to the people and areas that need it.

Dinnington has been left without a major High Street bank since the closure of HSBC and NatWest.

Rothbiz reported last year that Wath is set to get a new banking hub after it too suffered a similar fate.

Banking hubs can be recommended by LINK through a community request or following the announcement of the closure of the bank branch in a location. Successful recommendations are determined by several factors including the number of shops in the area, demographics, and proximity to other banking services.

To date, LINK has recommended over 100 banking hubs, including ones in Rossington and Thorne. There are currently 34 banking hubs up and running across the UK, with dozens more set to open in the coming months.

Representatives form the major banks, inlcuding NatWest and HSBC, are available on different days but availability will vary for each hub based on local demand.

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, said: “I am delighted that banking services will return to Dinnington though the banking hub. I have been working with LINK and Cash Access UK to make sure that customers, businesses and all residents can have access to the banking services they need. I will never stop fighting for those in my area to be able to access the services they need, when they need it. This banking hub, alongside the £12m to rejuvenate the high street given to us by the Government, will do a world of good towards that goal.”

Cllr. Julz Hall, who represents the Dinnington ward, said: "As a local business owner, I am thrilled that we have secured a banking hub for our area. This will give people a reason to visit our high street and I really hope it will encourage them to buy coffee from an independent café and visit some of our shops while they are here. We also have huge potential for new businesses to set up here when the new units are completed, and access to cash will be a big positive for them. I am really excited about this new development."

Over the next few weeks, Cash Access UK will begin to engage with the local community and will start to look for potential sites. The hub will likely open in 12 months’ time.

Nick Quin, Head of Financial Inclusion LINK, said: “We’re very pleased to recommend a new hub in Dinnington. There are millions of people in the UK who are not ready to go cashless and prefer to conduct their banking face-to-face. If a community believes that it needs additional cash services, they can contact LINK directly and we can assess whether we can recommend new services such as a cash machine or banking hub.”

Cash Access UK website
LINK website

Images: Google Maps


News: Tiny Toes families brought together thanks to W. Wrights sponsorship


Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity’s Tiny Toes appeal has received a major boost from W. Wright Electrical and Mechanical after they sponsored one of the neonatal unit’s new parent bedrooms.

The Sheffield-based firm’s £7,500 sponsorship has funded the complete redecoration of the first of three family rooms, including furniture, and will allow parents of premature and poorly babies to stay close to their precious newborns.

Bill Wright, Managing Director at W. Wright, said: “We are honoured to be part of the Tiny Toes appeal and to support the neonatal unit at Rotherham Hospital. We love to give back to the community and believe in the importance of supporting families during challenging times.

“We hope that our contribution will make a meaningful difference for parents and their newborns on the neonatal unit and were proud to see it progress so wonderfully. The team has pulled out all the stops to make it happen.”

The charity’s Tiny Toes appeal was launched in August 2023 and aims to raise £150,000. Thanks to the generosity of individuals, businesses and schools, the appeal has raised a third of its target so far.

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust has refurbished the neonatal unit for the first time in 40 years to future-proof it for generations to come, with the charity continuing to fundraise in 2024 for the added extras.

Babies may spend a few days or weeks on the unit, but occasionally this could be up to six months. The unit becomes a home from home for many parents as their little ones are cared for.

While the neonatal unit has reopened and is providing care, there is still work to be done to continue adding the special touches, including some additional furniture and a new bed for the family room. The charity’s fundraising will continue to provide the extra special resources, equipment and facilities which will make a huge difference to families.

The neonatal unit has two further family rooms that require sponsorship. The rooms have been redecorated but are awaiting furniture and soft furnishings to make them feel welcoming and cosy for new parents.

Rachael Dawes, Head of Fundraising, added: “The first bedroom was top of our ‘wish list’ so we’re thrilled to see it completed. It will provide comfort to families for generations to come and we are truly grateful for the partnership with W. Wright’s.

“We are now keen to find corporate sponsors for the remaining two family rooms and other key facilities, equipment and projects for the neonatal unit. We’re looking for funding for everything from recliner chairs, baby diaries, furniture, cots and skylights – all extras which the NHS cannot afford.

“It’s a great opportunity for businesses in particular to do something wonderful for the NHS, to have a lasting impact on the care we provide while also fulfilling your Environmental, Social and Governance policies too.”

W. Wright website
Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity website

Images: Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

News: Printing merger comes under scrutiny


The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating a proposed joint venture which would lead to the closure of printing operations in Rotherham.

Rothbiz reported in October that the state-of-the-art printing facility in Dinnington was under threat.

DMG Media, the operators of The Daily Mail, Metro and i newspapers and websites, and News UK, (formerly News International), the current publisher of The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun newspapers, proposed a joint venture which would combine their printing operations.

The proposal would retain three current sites in Broxbourne (Hertfordshire), Knowsley (Merseyside) and Eurocentral (Glasgow), and would potentially mean the closure of DMG Media sites in Thurrock and Dinnington.

DMG Media only acquired the site at Dinnington in 2020. The facility was created by Johnston Press at a cost of £60m on the site of the former colliery.

The CMA is a non-ministerial department of the government that promotes competitive markets and tackles unfair behaviour. It investigate mergers that have the potential to lead to a substantial lessening of competition. If a merger is likely to reduce competition substantially, the CMA can block it or impose remedies to address those concerns.

The CMA is investigating the anticipated joint venture between Daily Mail and General Holdings Limited and News Corp UK & Ireland Limited in respect of their newspaper printing activities.

The deadline for the CMA to announce its decision whether to refer the merger for a phase 2 investigation is March 28.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), the statutory body in Ireland, has already signed off on the merger.

Trade reports from Print Week indicate that DMG Media has already issued advanced notification of redundancy notices for its Dinnington site and that a redundancy package has been offered to affected workers.

Over the years, the Dinnington site, which is also known as Associated Print Holdings, has printed everything from the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Star, The Sun and Sheffield Star.

Last August, it was reported that National World, the company behind The Yorkshire Post and Rotherham Advertiser, had signed a deal with Newsquest that would see production end in Dinnington.

Images: News Corp


News: Rotherham is one of the UK's greenest places to live


An analysis of which UK towns and cities have the best access to green space has placed Rotherham right near the top.

There is the perception of the borough as still being an old industrial town but 70% of Rotherham is open countryside.

Eurocell, a manufacturer, distributor, and recycler of building products, has been looking at the issue of housing and the access to private gardens, local parks or national parks, and ranked towns and cities in the UK.

Rotherham is fourth in the rankings.

Eurocell looked at data including the number of homes in each area with a private garden, the average square footage of that garden, as well as the average distance to public green space and the percentage of homes on the market that are currently listed as having a private garden.

Nearby towns, Chesterfield and Mansfield, ranked first and second with Barnsley at nine.

In Rotherham, 95% of homes and flats have private outdoor space, the joint highest precentage in the report. With numerous parks in the borough, from Clifton Park in the town centre to the transformed former coalfield sites at Rother Valley and Manvers, the data showed that the average distance to the nearest park, public garden or playing field was 319.23 metres.

Beth Boulton, marketing director at Eurocell, said: “Outdoor space is hugely important for our health and well-being - it breathes life into a home and helps us to de-stress when we need to.

“Outdoor space has become a much bigger priority for homebuyers since the COVID-19 pandemic when many people started working from home for the first time. Since then, working from home has become much more of a norm for millions of people. The daily commute is no longer a good source of fresh air!

“We’ve seen a big spike in the number of people choosing to expand their home by utilising their outdoor space, such as with the introduction of using garden rooms as a home office. In most cases, planning permission isn’t necessary, so they’re a great solution for both adding more space to your home, but also potentially more value when you come to sell the property.”

Eurocell website

Images: Sheffield Cable Water Ski


Monday, February 26, 2024

News: Residential conversion planned for more Rotherham town centre properties


Private sector owners continue to agree with the Rotherham town centre masterplan, which confirmed the need for more housing.

Seperate change of use planning applications have been submitted to enable the conversion of commercial properties and use the upper floors for residential.

On Effingham Street, one of the prime shopping streets in Rotherham town centre, an application has been submitted by the owners of the vacant former jewellers.

24-26 Effingham Street, previously occupied by H Samuel until it closed during COVID-19 lockdown, sold for £150,000 when it went up for auction with Barnard Marcus in 2022.

Now new owners want to convert the vacant upper floors to four flats - one, 1 bed flat, one, 2 bed flat and two studios. The ground floor would remain as commercial use.

The council's environmental health team has already asked the applicant, Mr Yousaf, to carry out a noise impact assessment "to assess the potential impact of noise from general town centre footfall and fixed plant to nearby buildings and noise transmission between retail and residential units."

Across town, on the corner of Corporation Street and Upper Millgate, a prominent building is in line for conversion.

Starting life as a restaurant before becoming a nightclub - known to many as Crestas, Precint or Diamonds - applicant, AKM Holding LTD, is applying for a change of use to use the space as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) with nine bedrooms.

Opposite the new £47m Forge Island development, Rothbiz reported last year that planning permission was sought to enable Favorite Chicken to open as a hot food takeaway in the empty ground floor unit.

The takeaway application has been granted but opening hours were resrticted and an extraction system secured through planning conditions.

Large housing developments in the town centre are being led by Rotherham Council, including replacing the burnt-out buildings on Corporation Street with a £6m scheme.

Other private sector led schemes include the approved plans to convert the upper floors at 5 - 9 All Saints Square and at 36 Bridgegate - Ashwoods Furniture - which is yet to be determined.

Images: Google Maps

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