Tuesday, June 11, 2024

News: How would you spend £20m to improve Rotherham town centre?


Views and ideas are being invited on Rotherham's Long-Term Plan that will guide a £20m investment into the town over the next ten years.

Rothbiz reported in 2023 that Rotherham had been selected by the government as one of 55 towns to be given £20m endowment-style funds to invest in local people’s priorities.

Rotherham has been given the opportunity to develop a long-term plan supported by a Towns Board (A private-sector chaired Rotherham Town Deal Board is already established to oversee regeneration progress. It contains representatives from a wide range of key sectors).

The board is now inviting everyone to take part in consultation for the fund.

Town Boards have been asked by the Government to submit their Long-Term Plans (comprising their 10-year vision and 3-year investment plan) before August 1. The Plan will set out how funding will be allocated and spent, with the local authority as the body ultimately accountable for funding.

The government says that community engagement is at the heart of the Long-Term Plan for Towns, so plans should reflect local priorities and be co-designed with communities, businesses and residents, drawing on available evidence and data.

Plans are set to focus on three key themes:

- Safety and security
- High streets, heritage and regeneration
- Transport and connectivity

Whitehall has also published a policy toolkit, a list of interventions that provide the opportunity for Town Boards to take bespoke, ‘off-menu’ approaches where such an approach can be justified, and significant flexibility is offered to tailor the Long-Term Plan across the three broad investment themes.

The toolkit includes things like using powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, holding High Street Rental Auctions to bring empty units back into use, establishing a Business Improvement District (BID), using planning policies such as Local Development Orders (LDOs) and neighbourhood plans, bringing forward more Assets of Community Value, and more policies that were introduced via the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023.

Other possible interventions include improving CCTV, flood alleviation, green spaces, cultural events, place promotion, tourism initiatives and active travel enhancements.

To find out what matters to Rotherham, consultation involves a using a Place Standard tool and a survey consists of 14 topics, each with a question that asks you to rate Rotherham town centre on a scale of 1 to 7.

The online consultation can be found here.

Public consultation events are also taking place and business and community groups are also being asked to act as hosts.

At the same time, the three regional South Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce, have been asking businesses to share their views on what the priorities should be for their nearest town or city centre.

The latest iteration of the South Yorkshire Quarterly Economic Survey is canvassing their views on the cleanliness, safety, green spaces, retail offer and cultural scene of the nearest town or city centre, while also asking them to identify their top three priorities for making it a better place to do business. They will also be encouraged to highlight any examples (from around the country) of places that can serve as an inspiration for South Yorkshire and its ambitions.

Urging businesses to complete The Town and City Centre Survey, the three South Yorkshire Chambers (the respective networks for Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley & Rotherham) issued the following joint statement:

“By the very nature of what we do as networks, we are always interacting with businesses and, in the process, ask for their views on a myriad of topics. While there is a wide range of issues that concern our members, one thing that often comes up, totally unprompted, is the wellbeing and relative prosperity of the town and city centres we have here in South Yorkshire.

“We know that this is a matter close to the hearts of many local businesspeople, which is why we have decided to give them the opportunity for their voices to be heard through our new survey. We want to know how important the notion of civic pride is to them, where they believe there is room for improvement, what they’d like to see prioritised in terms of future investment, and if they consider a flourishing centre to be something that is key to their own ambitions.

“It’s imperative that we get as many different perspectives on this issue as possible, to ensure that we have authoritative data that’s truly representative of what businesses think. Indeed, the greater the response, the louder and more informative that collective voice is.”

Images: WOW / RMBC


Anonymous,  June 11, 2024 at 12:39 PM  

£20 million over 10years !It wants multiple times £20millon spent every year to bring it upto anywhere near standard that other local towns already are.

Anonymous,  June 11, 2024 at 5:38 PM  

So we give back the £20 million?

Anonymous,  June 11, 2024 at 10:05 PM  

Just pointing out how little you can do with £2 million a year,when you look at scale of what Rotherham needs.

Anonymous,  June 12, 2024 at 6:59 AM  

No, we need every penny we can get. And the town centre is moving in the right direction. Forge Island, market and library developments, town centre housing are all positives to build on.

Anonymous,  June 12, 2024 at 10:32 AM  

Here's a few starters:
- Remove the cycle lanes
- Free parking (or a free after three scheme, to encourage more visitors)
- More police
- Less cannabis/ anti-social behaviour
- Reinstate bus routes along Wellgate
- Stop RMBC playing monopoly with the town centre
- Stronger powers to curtail the culture of street drinking and drug taking
- Council to take better action against owners of empty/ derelict buildings

I could go on, but I'm going to stop there.

Anonymous,  June 12, 2024 at 5:21 PM  

A Hooters themed casino with flats above it would be nice.

Anonymous,  June 12, 2024 at 10:36 PM  

Council stop selling it's soul and taking government money to house asylum seekers would be a start ,take a look at Barnsley who haven't gone down this route.

Anonymous,  June 13, 2024 at 12:09 AM  

Plans approved for one in Moorgate

Anonymous,  June 13, 2024 at 1:10 PM  

No, you go for it mate. Knock yourself out.

Pete Nichols,  June 13, 2024 at 4:20 PM  

Question: "How would you spend £20m to improve Rotherham Town Centre?" Answer: "Council stop selling it's soul and taking government money to house asylum seekers would be a start ,take a look at Barnsley who haven't gone down this route" How is this relevant?

Jez June 13, 2024 at 11:37 PM  

I would be very interested to know where you get your information about the numbers if asylum seekers and where they are located. If Barnsley "have not gone down this route" how is it that there are more than 300 asylum seekers in the town.

Anonymous,  June 14, 2024 at 7:13 AM  

Local authorities cannot refuse to house asylum seekers. It's the law. Barnsley houses asylum seekers.

Jez June 14, 2024 at 7:17 AM  

It is neither relevant nor true. He should check out "Asylum Services" on the Barnsley Council website.

Anonymous,  June 16, 2024 at 10:24 AM  

For those of us who still have some civic pride there was a great day at Rotherham Museum yesterday, organised by Rotherham Civic Society, so we'll done to them.

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