Thursday, January 19, 2023

News: Borough's bid for levelling up funding turned down again

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The government has not selected a bid from Rotherham Council of almost £20m for money from the Levelling Up Fund for a further two projects in the borough.

Rothbiz reported in August that the authority had ressubmitted a bid to the second round of the Government's £4.8 billion competitive fund that is being invested in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK.

The money would have been used to create a new mixed-use development in Wath town centre, as well as delivering significant improvements to Dinnington High Street and market.

The Council had two of its three bids for funding from the Levelling Up Fund approved by the government in round 1, with almost £40m agreed to help improve the Leisure Economy and Skills in the borough and Rotherham Town Centre. The Dinnington and Wath bid was not selected.

Work earmarked for Dinnington includes; clearing the burnt out buildings, investment in the outdoor market and the creation of a new commercial square which aims to enhance the retail and food and beverage offer in the town and improve public realm and connectivity.

The Wath project involves the existing Library being demolished and replaced with a mixed-use building with a greater offer to include; library and exhibition space, sensory provision, collaboration space, café and commercial units. The public realm around the building will also be improved including new ‘play on the way’ equipment.

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Also not selected was another bid from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) for £50m that was focused on improving the passenger journey experience on public transport in South Yorkshire.

Cllr. Chris Read, the leader of Rotherham Council, took to Twitter to say that his: "Gut reaction to the Levelling Up round 2 announcement this morning is that the Tories aren’t even bothering to pretend they’re interested in our part of the world any more. Nothing for Dinnington and Wath - despite Rishi Sunak visiting to see the site himself.

"Nothing for South Yorkshire’s beleaguered bus services which are in desperate need of investment and modernisation - and that decision will hit more rural communities hardest."

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, said of the bid not being successful: "There are many questions regarding this and unfortunately, at this stage, I do not have the answers as to why the bid failed. What I do know is that, for some reason, RMBC decided to link up the Dinnington regeneration project with plans to rebuild the library in Wath. I have serious doubts about whether a library contributes to levelling up, but the combination of bids meant that if one element failed, so did the other. I was always very sceptical as to why these such different plans were lumped together. We also know there wasn't a full public consultation with the public to ascertain what the public wanted or needed.

"I do not know yet if these are the reasons for failure, but we do know that it failed previously due to RMBC’s lack of clarity in the bid on match funding. We will get full feedback in due course.

"My view remains that Rotherham council does not have a vision or plan for Rother Valley. Their regeneration, development and transport improvement plans have concentrated on Rotherham centre, Parkgate and the Parkway corridor. The main focus of the council has been and remains the redevelopment of Rotherham centre and the surrounding neighbourhoods such as Eastwood. Outside of these areas there is a vacuum of ideas and planning coming from Rotherham Council."

Images: RMBC

2 comments:

Anonymous,  January 20, 2023 at 11:05 AM  

RMBC seem to get more bids turned down than successful! Where could they be going wrong? Answers on a postcard to Riverside house please.

Anonymous,  January 20, 2023 at 3:01 PM  

The biding process is wrong,not how Rotherham council bids.
They won bids in round one,there is another bid coming up round 3,don't be surprised if they win then.
How Civil servants in London decide to pick the winning bids is beyond me.

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