Monday, November 28, 2016

News: £9m sought for Rotherham projects


Three high profile economic development projects in Rotherham could receive a boost from unspent money via the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority (CA).

Rothbiz reported in October that the CA, which aligns political decision making around strategic economic development and transport, was being warned that over £27m of funding for projects that benefit the local area and economy could be going back to the Government if it is not spent by the end of March.

After initial concerns were raised, an early call was made for schemes to come forward that were "shovel ready" and able to progress significant amounts of spend in this financial year.

Rotherham Council has said that it has put forward six development projects in a bid to secure funding. Three of which have moved forward to the next stage with full business cases submitted to the Sheffield City Region earlier this month now in the process of being evaluated.


The projects are:

Forge Island
£1.5m is being sought to help Rotherham Council's bid to acquire the key regeneration site and prepare it for development. Currently home to an empty supermarket and a car park following the relocation of Tesco across town in 2014, it was identified as a suitable site for development of a town centre leisure hub. The wider development incorporating Forge Island and Weirside site could deliver a 25,000 sq ft cinema, 20,000 sq ft hotel and 6,000sq ft of restaurants and bars.

AMP Technology Centre
A £7m bid is being developed to enable Rotherham Council to acquire the AMP Technology Centre which provides the incubation space on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. Initially developed by Yorkshire Forward, the AMP Technology Centre is now operated by Creative Space Management on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency. The centre has been designed to accommodate a range of manufacturing-related activities, from fledgling engineering and technology companies, to University spin-offs and subsidiaries of established companies.

A618 Growth Corridor
The A618 is one of the major A-roads in the borough. A £759,000 bid has been submitted and it is thought that the project relates to the section of the road at Waleswood which leads to the site of the proposed £37m Gulliver's Valley leisure development adjacent to Rother Valley. A planning application for the development has recently been submitted.

Other projects from across the SCR hoping to secure funding include the AMRC Lightweighting Centre on the Sheffield Business Park (£10m), Better Barnsley Town Centre Retail and Leisure Development (£2.14m), Junction 36 Strategic Site Acquisition (£1m), additional funding for the Sheffield Central Retail and Business District (£1m), demolitions in Doncaster town centre (£1m) and employment sites in Retford (£725,000).

Projects gaining approval from the CA are likely to find out at the end of January but Rotherham Council is pushing to get on and spend the money.

A report to the next cabinet and commissioners' decision making meeting states: "In respect of the A618 Growth Corridor bid for £759,000 in 2016/17, there is a requirement to start work on site as soon as feasible, in the event of approval for the scheme being granted. Given the tight timetable to physically deliver the scheme before the end of March 2017, the Council is lobbying to get this and the Forge Island approval fast tracked to before Christmas 2016."

A report to enable council and commissioners to make a decision on the schemes is expected and would also cover Phase 2 works for the A618, for which a further bid is set to be made to the SCR.

Images: Harworth Group


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