- Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford wrote to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) CEO Sharon Kemp on 15 March, urging her to ensure a strong bid was submitted on behalf of the constituency to access the Levelling Up Fund
- Sharon Kemp states, in her response, her commitment to submitting a strong bid for Rother Valley, highlighting potential eligible projects
- MP Alexander believes high streets should get money
Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, has received a response from Sharon Kemp, CEO of RMBC, to his 15 March letter urging the council to submit a strong bid on behalf of his constituency to receive £20 million from the Levelling Up Fund (LUF).
The LUF, announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak at this month's budget, is a Government scheme worth £4.8 billion to provide a much-needed cash injection to deprived areas. Rotherham has been identified as a top priority area, meaning bids from the borough are more likely to be successful.
Local MP Alexander says his constituency must not be overlooked in favour of Rotherham centre and will work with Sharon and local councils to put together a strong bid. Responding, Sharon highlights the council's keenness to developing a strong bid for investment, She highlights projects at Rother Valley Country Park and Gulliver's Valley, labelling Alexander's suggestions on town centres 'a helpful start.'
Commenting, Alexander said:
"Whilst I am encouraged that the council does seem to intend to submit a bid for Rother Valley, I believe that the focus for the bid should be on improving our high streets. Our high streets have been neglected over the decades, and this funding should be used to help restore and revitalise them for the whole community to benefit. We should not be getting distracted by other projects which can receive support from different areas already available.
The Council will be given £125,000 by the Government to help develop plans so we should use this to build a solid case to revitalise our high streets.
I have reached out to all the Parish Councils, asking them for input and as you can see from the letter, Dinnington has sent across its ideas. I look forward to receiving more ideas from other Town and Parish Councils."
The letter from RMBC reads
Thank you for your letter of 15th March 2021, outlining your thoughts on the Levelling Up Fund and for the initial meeting on the topic.
The Council is keen to access opportunities to secure investment into our communities and will work with you and other stakeholders, including Parish Councils. to develop proposals and the strongest possible submission for funding. The council would welcome any information you are able to provide on the current development proposals of parish councils and any feedback from residents that you receive. The information you supplied on Dinnington Town Centre is a helpful start.
Through the Government's One Public Estate (OPE) programme the council has secured funding to develop masterplans for Dinnington and Maltby town centres. Combined with local Neighbourhood Plans, this will be extremely helpful in identifying potential projects for the Levelling Up Fund. In addition to the opportunities for our local town centres, I believe there are opportunities to capture long-term economic benefits for local people and improve the economic performance of our towns. For example, the jobs, skills and training opportunities in the growing visitor economy at Gullivers Valley linked to the development of Rother Valley Country Park, or transport projects to improve access into towns and employment sites.
Publication of detailed guidance is awaited but the council will be very happy to work with you to quickly explore all possible options, assess the viability and the state of readiness for submission and assemble the strongest possible bid in order to maximise not only the level of investment but the economic opportunities for the towns and residents in your constituency.
Sharon Kemp, Chief Executive