Tuesday, August 8, 2023

News: Council lines up contractors for £8m country park cafés


Contractors are close to being appointed for the multimillion pound upgrades at two of Rotherham's country parks, only rising costs have led to a little less levelling up as the schemes are scaled back.

Securing money from the Government's Levelling Up Fund, £19.9m was awarded for a number of connected projects which aim to build a new leisure industry that responds to the challenges of economic recovery and health and well-being.

However, refinement of the proposals has been necessary due to "cost constraints, inflation and market challenges."

At Rother Valley Country Park, planning permission has been secured for a £5.5m upgrade - the centrepiece being a new waterfront café.

The new café will have a seating capacity of 134 offering beautiful views over the lake. The seating area is also dual aspect - the café space looks over the new play area to the rear, creating a safer place for parents to watch while their children play.

At Rother Valley, Kier Construction Ltd is being lined up for the second stage of a two-stage design and build contract for the delivery of works.

An update from the council now shows that other aspects of the scheme have been dropped, including a light touch refurbishment of existing café, education centre, mill building and water wheel that would have improved facilities and developed the courtyard area. Further funding would also need to be found to improve and extend the existing play areas and improve car parking.

Rothbiz revealed the ambitions of a masterplan for Rother Valley which could potentially include hosting bigger events, new play areas, zip slides and toboggan runs.

At Thrybergh Country Park, planning permission has been secured for the demolition of the existing lakeside café and the erection of a replacement café building and seating terrace (cgi, above).

Replacing an existing building that is considered to be outdated and no longer fit for purpose, the new space will be able to accommodate 80 covers inside and 40 outside.

The Sewell Group and Illingworth and Gregory Ltd are set to be awarded the second stage of a two-stage design and build contract for the delivery of works at Thrybergh.

The £2.5m project had also included a new car park to provide an additional 152 spaces but an update from the council shows that this is no longer in the plans.

A report to Rotherham Council's cabinet explains that new cafés were top of the list during consultation. On the changes, the report adds: "During the development of the project scope and design, the volatile national and international construction market and the impact of inflation has increased the estimated costs of materials, construction, fees and the availability of contractors.

"The design has been prudent in ensuring adequate value engineering whilst meeting the aims of the Levelling Up Fund, public feedback and the Council’s objectives for the leisure economy."

Rothbiz reported last week that the council was set to use just over £1m from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to support the delivery of capital schemes in the LUF programme as shortfalls have been identified at Gulliver's Valley, Wentworth Woodhouse and Maltby Learning Trust.

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council said that "economic headwinds were against us" but added: "We want to deliver as much of it as possible. We are using some of our UKSPF money to top up some of our schemes that are coming through because right across they are all facing similar challenges. We are moving this as quickly and as sensibly as we can but we have to do that in a way that it is a proper product, not something that is bodged together."

RMBC website

Images: AHR


Anonymous,  August 9, 2023 at 10:08 AM  

Maybe they could hold back some of the 4.6 million given to private house Wentworth Woodhouse from the levelling up fund.

Jez August 9, 2023 at 5:10 PM  

What private house would that be?

Anonymous,  August 9, 2023 at 9:46 PM  

Wentworth Woodhouse is owned by a charitable trust and is not a private house.

Jez August 10, 2023 at 9:40 AM  

He never allows facts to get in the way of a good moan.

Anonymous,  August 10, 2023 at 10:39 AM  

Meets no criteria for the levelling up fund .....Charitable Trust or not

Anonymous,  August 10, 2023 at 12:23 PM  

Talking to yourself again Jez? 🤣

Jez August 10, 2023 at 12:38 PM  

Nonsense. If it didn't meet the criteria it wouldn't have been awarded funding. Having said that the government's Levelling up agenda is a sick joke and an electoral ploy.

Jez August 10, 2023 at 3:27 PM  

Possibly, yes. It is difficult to know when people hide behind the anonymity tag and can't even be bothered to adopt a nick name. So it could just be me and this insane guy posting.

Martin,  August 10, 2023 at 6:21 PM  

Which criteria from the leveling up fund has Wentworth Woodhouse not met?

Jez August 10, 2023 at 8:13 PM  

Good post that Jez and far more interesting than the drivel slavered by Mr Anonymous

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