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Rotherham Town Centre Awarded Further Funding

posted 13 May 2013, 08:24 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 13 May 2013, 08:26 ]
Rotherham Town Centre has once again been recognised with a national award from the Government's High Street Renewal Fund. The £268,000 allocation, which is the largest amount awarded to any town, establishes Rotherham firmly at the front of national work to regenerate Britain's high streets.

The Council's Retail Investment Team will manage the project, to deliver more retail-related business support with £18,000 to be used for disseminating and showcasing best practice. 

Rotherham was short-listed based on an original application form and then a visit by the team responsible for judging the applications in February. The bid focussed on the work being undertaken to strengthen and differentiate the town's shopping offer, and looks to help deliver new and exciting ways of supporting new start businesses who would further contribute to this offer.

Following the success of the town's first pop-up shop, the plans would include the development of more pop up shops (a minimum of 3) and a shared managed retail space that would allow businesses to make and sell their own items.

By taking anything from a shelf space to a larger kiosk within the shop, individuals can gain valuable experience and learn the art of retailing before growing further and taking the plunge to set up their own shops.

As a result of the impressive progress made in town centre regeneration and the Portas Pilot initiative, Rotherham has already enjoyed significant national and regional coverage of its successes in supporting local business.

The proposal that won the award focused on listening to shoppers after extensive research into what they felt was missing from the town centre.

Footfall figures for the town centre in 2012 showed an 8.26% increase across the year in comparison to 2011, and a 15% increase on the figures for 2010.

Best practice has been shared with other local authorities by supplying information and visits to Rotherham. This will continue as part of projecting the success of Rotherham as the template for other authorities.

Leader of the Counci, Cllr Roger Stone, said: "It seems that hardly a week goes by without some local or national recognition of the strong work that is taking place to show that Rotherham is a town that is serious about business, economic support and recovery.

"This award provides much needed funding but it is not to be taken in isolation. It is good practice building on past achievements to make sure that traders in our town get a flying start to developing new and exciting businesses.

"Quite simply Rotherham is becoming the byword for innovation and commitment to town centre development. That doesn't happen by accident. It takes ideas, hard work and a positive can-do attitude that runs through everything we believe in.

"We want other people to come and see how we are bucking the trend and we want to continue not just with the green shoots of recovery but with making Rotherham the place for business development."

Paul Woodcock, Director of Planning, Regeneration and Culture, added: "This award has come about from the great strides we've made in Rotherham recently and improvements to footfall, new shops and other initiatives as well as listening to what people want to see in a vibrant town centre.

"Over 170 retailers have benefited from work during the last six months and this award is recognition of their commitment and their passion to Rotherham as a place to grow a new business. "

Local Growth Minister, MP Mark Prisk, who recently visited Rotherham to see for himself the local achievements, said: "The High Street Renewal Award has encouraged towns to 'up their game' and put their best ideas to work in order to save their high streets.

"We were delighted to see the high level of applications from all over the country. Rotherham was one of the many towns that came forward, and it is a shinning example of what can be achieved.

"I would like to congratulate Rotherham for the innovative and interesting ways in which it has given its high street a new lease of life.

"It is in everyone's interests to see our town centres thrive, and I want people across the country to take inspiration from Rotherham and look at what can be done when communities work together."