£72m package agreed to help region recover from pandemic

Funding worth £72m has been approved to kick start Sheffield City Region’s fight back from the coronavirus.

The Mayor of the city region, the leaders of South Yorkshire’s councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership approved the money yesterday.

At the Mayoral Combined Authority meeting, formal approval was given to the Renewal Action Plan (RAP) and a swathe of infrastructure projects, as part of local leader’s proposals to help people, employers and places across South Yorkshire recover from the pandemic.

The RAP, submitted to ministers in the summer, requires substantial investment and powers from Government at the Spending Review next week.

£75m has already been secured for infrastructure, transport projects and house building as part of the efforts to regenerate the region’s places and create jobs.

However, local leaders have agreed to use the new ‘gainshare’ money from the landmark devolution deal to accelerate progress and put forward investment in creating new jobs and improving training and skills.

The package includes:

  • A £5.75m Gainshare Emergency Recovery Fund for the region’s four local councils, to support COVID recovery efforts and local priorities, at the discretion of local authorities.
  • £16m for the Mayoral Combined Authority to start delivering strands of the Renewal Action Plan:
    • This includes an expanded Kickstart scheme, to help adults aged over 25 find training and work, and the creation of an Apprenticeship Training Agency for businesses who want to take on an apprentice, but who are unable to employ them in the current climate.
    • Extensive business support, including specialist advice, using digital to adapt to the pandemic and brokering opportunities for businesses to enter supply chains and access procurement contracts.
  • More than £48m of Government funding for a programme of transport and infrastructure upgrades, including:
    • £40m to start the A630 Parkway Widening scheme, to reduce congestion, allow the free movement of traffic and improve air quality on the route between Junction 33 of the M1 and Sheffield city centre, through the expansion of the existing dual carriageway to a three lane route.
    • £4m for the start Heart of the City II in Sheffield, to enhance the city centre by creating three new spaces including a pocket park, a small square on Carver Street and expansion of the Peace Gardens between the Town Hall and the proposed new hotel on Pinstone Street.
    • £2.2m for regeneration of Rotherham town centre, to prepare land for commercial development, public realm improvements and new community spaces.
    • £2m to develop the Century BIC II business park, developing a high-quality, publicly-owned employment site in Rotherham.  The scheme will create around 17,000 sq. ft. of new floor space for office and clean manufacturing “move on” space for growing firms.
  • £540,000 of Transforming Cities Fund to develop the business case for a new bridge and highway link at iPort, Doncaster, one of the UK’s biggest logistics hubs.

Mayor of Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said: “We are putting our money where our mouth is, and investing in South Yorkshire’s people, businesses and places to recover and renew.

Dan Jarvis

“In the next 18 months we will help people train and improve their skills, get back to work, back our businesses to adapt and thrive, and continue to revitalise our towns and city centre.”

Councillor Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: “I am delighted that we’ve been able to secure this major investment in three diverse, but equally significant projects for the regeneration of Rotherham.

“At a time of great uncertainty for the local and national economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this is most welcome news.”