Wednesday, September 7, 2022

News: Stalled! Markets revamp in Rotherham needs another £10m


The redevelopment of Rotherham Markets has been delayed as the council attempts to fill a large funding gap for the £22m regeneration project.

A planning application was recently submitted for the redevelopment of Rotherham markets, complete with a new chapter for a central library. It was previously given a total budget of £22,095,761 by the council, split between this year and next.

The council's cabinet is being told that the project has been delayed whilst a review of funding options took place, due to the impact of inflation on the project delivery costs.

Rothbiz outlined in July that a number of regeneration projects in Rotherham have been delayed with the council citing issues linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising costs of materials.

The indoor markets are set to get a new layout and timber effect ceiling whilst the outdoor market's canopy roof is set to be replaced. A new dining area with commercial units is a new addition, along with much improved public realm. A new library will include a café, meeting rooms, flexible gallery space, and a maker’s space.

Whilst planning permission is awaited, the Charter Arms pub and the RAIN Building, which will be replaced by public realm in an area called "Market Gardens," have already been demolished.

Rotherham Council secured funding from the Government’s Future High Street Fund to part finance the improvements but it has now been revealed that the project has a forecast funding gap of £9.8m following an update of the cost plan.

A council report states: "With changing market conditions, the updated cost modelling resulted in a substantial uplift to the anticipated cost of delivering the outlined phase of works. The reasons for the increase include general materials inflation but also much greater than expected inflation on base materials that are becoming scarcer. In addition, following early engagement with suppliers, further design adjustments have been identified that add to a funding shortfall."

Following a council review of the project and wider capital programme a funding package has been proposed to bridge the gap. This includes £5m from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority's (SYMCA's) "Gainshare" funding pot. The council is also proposing to move an allocation of libraries relocation budget of £2.9m that was earmarked for the central library relocation, and a redirected operational building budget of £1.8m, utilising the elements of the budget earmarked for central library and markets capital maintenance.

Rotherham Council's £188.138m of capital expenditure for 2022/23 is part of the largest capital programme it has ever had, - over £500m from now to 2025/26. The largest funding streams for this financial year are £84m from grants and contributions and £63m from unsupported borrowing.

The council report concludes: "The capital programme for 2022/23 remains ambitious even with a significant level of re-profiling of schemes into 2023/24. The Council will therefore need to keep close control of project spend profiles and delivery milestones to keep these projects on track. The Council will also need to review the deliverability of this significantly increased capital programme and potentially, re-profile some schemes into future financial years."

With dwindling numbers, a recent review of the markets showed that councillors have "acknowledged the importance of rallying behind the Market Service in taking the Town Centre Markets in a direction that reflects the changing needs of consumers and maximises the future role Rotherham’s markets will play in the community."

The revamp aims to make it more appealing to young generations and new customers, while not alienating the existing customer base - "which together will contribute to its vitality."

Images: RMBC / Greig & Stephenson Architects


Anonymous,  September 7, 2022 at 1:39 PM  

Hmmm. So, RMBC have basically done the same thing that they've done time and time again. Squandered a load of public money to demolish buildings and then come up short when it comes to actually doing something with the space.

In the mean time, the town contracts that little bit more and there is one less reason to visit.

When will they learn?

The planning and economic development departments MUST be held to account and heads must start to roll. Only in local government is incompetence consistently rewarded.

Anonymous,  September 7, 2022 at 4:12 PM  

The article makes it clear that the cost of the project has increased due to the current climate and inflation, and that alternative funds are being identified. I'm not sure how this can be blamed on the council?

Anonymous,  September 7, 2022 at 10:40 PM  

There's nearly a 50% shortfall. When someone did the costings, do they not think about inflation and forecasts for material costs.

Anonymous,  September 8, 2022 at 8:18 AM  

Budget contingency....

Anonymous,  September 8, 2022 at 11:09 AM  

How can it be blamed on the council? I noted in the comments.

Very, very easily.

If it was a one-off incident, you're right, they could be forgiven. But it's not.

The same thing happens time and time again. The shiny new buildings they promised to replace the All Saints Building on Corporation St back in 2008, to give just one example, before the powers that be back-tracked and decided to landscape the area instead. For what it's worth, I don't think that was a bad end result, but you would think somebody, somewhere would stop and think.

Millions have been promised to Rotherham, and suddenly half way through these half-baked schemes, the world changes and RMBC is left high and dry. Yet again.

Given that there are also problems with the God-forsaken pocket park on High Street as well, due to rising costs it can't have exactly come as a surprise that there would be problems with this site too. Let's remember that this was started quite a long time before the library plan was ever mooted.

So, if RMBC doesn't have the money to clear the rubble and lay a bit of grass, there was never going to be a cat in hell's chance that they could pull off something like this.

There is a culture of complacency and ineptitude that runs to the core of Rotherham Council and this is just another example.

Anonymous,  September 9, 2022 at 2:58 PM  

So going by this the extra funding has been identified,well go for it than.

Anonymous,  September 12, 2022 at 4:16 PM  

Complete shambles yet again

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