Tuesday, June 21, 2022

News: Sunak surveys Dinnington and its case for Levelling Up


Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, visited the Rotherham town of Dinnington last week as a bid is prepared to secure much needed Government cash for regeneration.

Last year, Rotherham Council submitted three bids to the Government's £4 billion competitive Levelling Up Fund that is being invested in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK.

Whilst the bids based on the town centre and the leisure economy were successful, and secured £40m for the borough, a bid based on Wath and Dinnington being designated as areas of growth in terms of new housing and employment, was knocked back.

The authority has said that the bid will be put back in to the next round of the fund.

Sunak is the second Chancellor to be invited to visit Dinnington by Rother Valley MP, Alexander Stafford, after previous Chancellor Sajid Javid came in 2019.

Stafford has campaigned for the bid to focus on Dinnington High Street, notably the outdoor market indoor market and further retail premises nearby that are not fit for purpose, some without running water and toilet facilities and some which have been burnt out and derelict for several years.

In Dinnington the borough council sought to secure £9.2m to carry out interventions that have a total cost of £14m.

The bid included new residential and retail with space for an indoor market. The outdoor market will be upgraded and sited within event space and upgraded public realm.

Paul Woodcock, Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment at Rotherham Council, recently updated councillors on the Dinnington bid. He said: "The feedback from Round 1 had related to match funding and the scale of the process and programme that had been put forward under the first round of bidding.

"Work had been done in terms of private sector options, private sector match, the marketplace linked to commercial, residential and more retail led schemes. The revised scheme was still based on the principles of the original submission as the feedback was that it was a strong bid.

"However, it was important to make it affordable. Since the first bid was put in, cost increases had been seen in the construction market and as such it was vital that any scheme put forward was deliverable."

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, said: "As promised when I was elected, I will ensure Rother Valley’s voice is heard by the most powerful people in our country, so I was delighted to be able to show the Chancellor around Dinnington high street and talk to him about our bid for the Levelling Up Fund. The Government has committed to delivering significant investment for areas like Rother Valley, where our small towns have been neglected for decades.

"This is just the beginning, and I will continue to press for greater investment across the whole of Rother Valley, to benefit all our towns and ensure that they are strong enough to meet the challenges of a changing economy."

Images: Alexander Stafford / Facebook


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