Rotherham’s Future High Streets Fund bid through to the next stage

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Rotherham town centre has been shortlisted for part of a £675m fund designed to help communities reinvent their high streets.

Earlier this year, Rotherham Council made an application to the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) set up to transform town centres and make them fit for the future.

Rotherham Council has now received news that its bid has been put forward for the next stage, one of around 50 areas across the country successfully shortlisted.

Rotherham – along with the other shortlisted areas – will receive up to £150,000 of new funding to work up a detailed project proposal, based on its initial plan.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will work closely with each place to help them develop schemes in preparation for making a bid.

The news gives a further boost to Rotherham town centre’s regeneration plans as laid out in the Town Centre Masterplan, including the re-development of Forge Island with a multi-screen cinema, restaurants and hotel.

Although specific schemes are still to be agreed, the initial application focused on supporting the delivery of the Masterplan.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy Cllr Denise Lelliott said: “This is great news for Rotherham but we recognise that we need to do a lot more work to build the business case for funding.

“Working with our partners, we are laying solid foundations for regeneration, with the new University Centre, refurbished bus station and Tram Train. Our Town Centre Masterplan sets out our vision, moving towards a more diverse mix of uses with a focus on residential and leisure, quality open spaces, public realm and better connectivity.

“This is a big plan and we needed to be big. It was not about scaling the plan to fit the Council’s budget. Now that the vision and masterplan are in place, the priority is to find the funding to make it real.”

The Council will now work with local stakeholders to prioritise the key projects it wishes to take forward, which will support the Town Centre Masterplan to have more people living, working and spending their leisure time there. This could include opportunities for environmental improvements, better connectivity, and more homes in the heart of the town.

Meanwhile, investigative works have been completed on Forge Island in preparation for flood defence, and enabling works to be carried out ahead of the main Forge Island scheme works that are due to commence in 2020 by the Council’s chosen development partner Muse Developments.

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