- Local Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford writes to Chief Executive of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) urging council to put in a strong bid for new Levelling Up fund
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £4.8 billion funding for local regeneration projects, with Rotherham identified as a priority one area to receive a £20 million cash injection
- MP Alexander Stafford says Rother Valley cannot be left behind again
Following the announcement in the recent budget that the Government is creating a £4.8 billion Levelling Up fund to improve deprived areas, Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford has written to RMBC CEO Sharon Kemp, urging her to submit a strong bid for Rother Valley.
The funding can be used to reinvigorate a whole range of aspects of local infrastructure, and Rotherham has been identified as a priority one area. This means that there is a higher chance of bids from RMBC being successful. Local MP Alexander Stafford has written to Sharon Kemp, CEO of RMBC, urging her to consider Rother Valley and the outlying areas of Rotherham to ensure that these parts of the borough are not left behind any longer.
A longtime campaigner for levelling up Rother Valley, Alexander will work with the council in the months ahead to secure the funding for Rother Valley. He believes the money would be best spent on invigorating Rother Valley's high streets and will be in regular contact with Sharon and the team in the weeks and months leading up to a bid submission.
Commenting, Alexander said:
"I believe that our bid should focus on improving our high streets and shopping areas across Rother Valley, making them fit for the future by making them an attractive place to visit and shop.
We do this by investing in secure community infrastructure and crime reduction, upgrading eyesore buildings and dated infrastructure and bringing public services and safe community spaces into our town centres.
The money is on the table and there for the taking.
Now, we must ensure that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council submits a strong bid to ensure that Rother Valley gets this much-needed investment.
This is a once in a generation opportunity and RMBC must seize it with both hands, with backing from myself, our parish councils and most importantly our community.
My hope is that RMBC will make full use of this fund and I will do everything that I possibly can to help them secure this investment for Rother Valley."
The text of the letter Alexander wrote to Sharon is below:
I am writing to ask Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) to put in a bid for the new Levelling Up Fund, following the Government’s announcement at the Budget. This new £4.8billion fund is designed to support local areas across the UK and improve the ‘infrastructure of everyday life’.
Rotherham has been designated a priority one area by the Government. This means there is a great chance for Rother Valley and the rest of the Borough to access this funding quickly. The Council is able to submit one bid for every Member of Parliament whose constituency lies wholly within their boundary.
There is an up to £20 million pound grant available for Rother Valley and I want our communities to be first in line to get this. The first round of the Fund is open now, with applications to be submitted by June 2021, and a promise to prioritise ‘shovel-ready’ projects. So we must act with pace.
I believe that our bid should focus on arresting the decline of our high streets and shopping areas in Rother Valley. We need to make these attractive places to visit and shop once again, upgrading eyesore buildings and dated infrastructure, investing in secure community infrastructure and crime reduction, and bringing public services and safe community spaces into town centres. This complements plans from RMBC, who have detailed their desire in the Core Strategy (adopted 2012) to enhance the vitality and viability of the borough's retail and service centres.
The Fund is a once in a generation opportunity to achieve this. It will improve our townscapes and landscaping, improve access, and the environmental quality of our high streets.
It is important to note that the Fund is competitive and it is vital to our local community that we act fast and work towards submitting a bid that focuses on regeneration and investment in our town and village centres. This will require RMBC working with me and the local parish councils to pull together the regeneration and development plans for our local high streets. As such, I have asked that all the parish councils submit their current development plans to me prior to Easter, which I will pass on to RMBC, to enable an assessment of the viability of the plans. I have also asked residents to submit their comments and suggestions regarding a focus of the Fund on reinvigorating our high streets.
Let me be very clear, we cannot let the people of Rother Valley miss out. This is a once in a generation opportunity and must be seized upon by the local authority, with support and backing from me, our parish councils and our local community. I will do everything that I possibly can to enable Rother Valley to access this investment.
I know that there is much work to be done. I look forward to working closely with RMBC to drive forward together these positive changes and investment into Rother Valley.
Alexander Stafford, Member of Parliament for Rother Valley