Rotherham Council has put together a bid of almost £60 million for money from the Levelling Up Fund for projects across the borough.
If successful the money would be used to create a new Library and Community Hub in Wath with improvements to the surrounding area, improvements to Dinnington High Street and markets and accelerate the growth of a burgeoning new Leisure industry that responds to the challenges of economic recovery and health and well-being. This would include projects at Wentworth Woodhouse, Thrybergh Country Park, Magna and Rother Valley Country Park.
A skills package would also see the creation of a new Skills Village at Gulliver’s Resort focusing on training, development, and accreditation within the hospitality and leisure sector and Maltby Academy Trust would invest in the redevelopment of the former Maltby Grammar School to create an incubator space for training, apprenticeships and start up support in the leisure and hospitality sectors.
Funding has also been earmarked to help continue the regeneration of Rotherham Town Centre focussing on two key areas, the Riverside Residential Quarter and the Leisure and Culture Quarter.
Towns were given the opportunity to bid by 18th June 2021, and the number of bids allowed was determined by the number of MPs in a town. This means Rotherham had the opportunity to submit three bids (one of these with the agreement of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council).
The Government guidance stated that each bid should total a maximum of £20m and could be 1 project or a coherent package of up to 3 projects.
Rotherham chose to submit three bids which aim to spread the benefits of this opportunity across the whole borough. This was supported by all three Rotherham MPs, John Healey, Alexander Stafford and Sarah Champion.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, Cllr Denise Lelliott, said: “We have put together three bids that will reach out to all areas in Rotherham and help us to continue the progress we’ve already made to regenerate our town, create jobs and build a better borough.
“If the government backs our bids it will provide much needed funding for local infrastructure as well as creating opportunities for people living and working across the borough.”
Rotherham Central MP Sarah Champion said: “The Levelling Up Fund is an opportunity to bring investment into our town and support our local communities. RMBC staff have produced a strong bid and I know that they have worked incredibly hard developing the bid at very short notice.
“I hope that the bid will be successful and that this money will be put to good use improving our communities and developing the local economy.”
Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford said: “I welcome that RMBC have pulled together a bid for Rother Valley and that our communities have a fair chance of winning their slice of this funding.
“Having lobbied very hard for our high streets and having been a strong advocate for using this money to rejuvenate them, I am pleased that they will form a central part of our bid here in Rother Valley and I look forward to hearing the outcome.”
Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said: “Rotherham Council and local groups have pulled out the stops to prepare these bids in the short time given by the Government.
“I hope the Government will give the go ahead for this funding – we certainly need it and will make very good use of it locally.”
Announced in the Government’s Spending Review, the Levelling Up Fund aims to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK.
The £4.8 billion fund will support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.
Should the Rotherham bids result in an unsuccessful outcome the Council has the opportunity to bid again in later rounds.