£12.6m of Government funding has been allocated to help Rotherham transform its high street into a vibrant hub for future generations and to protect and create jobs.
A bid to the Future High Streets Fund has been partially successful, in that a provisional funding offer for £12,660,708 has been recieved. This is less than the borough’s bid which was for over £20m.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “The year ahead will be a big one for the high street as it seeks to recover, adapt and evolve as a result of the pandemic.
“The role of high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are the beating heart of their local community – with high quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.
“This investment will help us build back better and make town centres a more attractive place to live, work and visit.”
Rotherham’s town centre masterplan places the emphasis on more leisure and residential uses and a diversifying of the high street from being retail focused.
Following the success of the Council’s Stage 1 Bid and having been invited to Stage 2 of the process – business case development; the requirement was to work up detailed HM Treasury Green Book compliant business cases with developed/detailed designs and costings.
Council documents show that the Final Bid aimed to secure funding for the following proposals:
– Rotherham Markets, Library & Community Hub (draft sketch pictured, top) – Rotherham Markets is an important economic and social hub in the heart of the town centre. This will be redeveloped to reinforce this role delivering an Innovative Test Space for Enterprise, Learning and Culture as well as high quality public realm, delivering a pioneering new flexible shared space of markets, libraries and community hubs;
– Riverside Gardens (currently Riverside car park) – A playful green space connecting Forge Island with the heart of the town providing recreational space for residents and visitors. This intervention is critical to the flow of pedestrians between Forge Island and the town centre, ensuring continuity of a high-quality experience and encouraging further dwell-time within the town centre core;
– Grimm & Co (The National Centre for Folk & Fairy Tales) – a new home for the internationally-renowned Grimm & Co, a new cultural, learning and visitor destination will take root in a beautiful Grade II* Listed Church. This proposal forms part of the priority for a Child Centred Borough and for the Children’s Capital of Culture 2025;
– Safe & Smart Streets – Providing a high-quality environment and connecting key sites across the town centre. Proposals seek to address the key challenge of safety and security concerns expressed by users of the town centre by providing well-lit, secure and more welcoming public spaces. Proposals also allow for the introduction of events, a programme of public art, playful trails, sculptural street furniture and high-quality planting and green space will connect and frame our landmarks.