September the 8th, 2009
Councillor Roger Stone,
Leader of the Council.
Dear Councillor Stone,
The University of Rotherham?
Rotherham Borough Council has been phenomenally successful in recent years in regenerating the older industrial areas atTempleborough, Manvers, Waverley, and Dinnington.
Whilst these efforts have been invaluable in providing new employment opportunities they have sadly done little to raise the town's profile in the widest sense.
One thing which is guaranteed to raise a town's profile, however, is the presence of a University. It is in this connection that I now write to you on behalf of the Civic Society. Recently, the Rt Hon John Denham, M.P, Minister for Universities, announced the Government's intention to designate 20 new university towns in the next six years.
I wonder whether the Council has considered, in collaboration possibly with RCAT and / or the Dearne Valley College, bidding for this designation. Given that RCAT is already proposing to spend £60.0m - £70.0m on redeveloping its present campus the option to go just that bit further must be realistic
Real ambition on the part of our town might suggest that a University of Rotherham could be built on the former Guest and Chrimes site. Linking it by footbridge to Westgate would provide the opportunity for this area to be reborn as a location for creative industries. The Council's own need to replace Bailey House etc might then be met by the re-use of the present RCAT Eastwood and Clifton buildings area.
Probably Barnsley and Doncaster will be bidding given their links to the Universities of Huddersfield and Hull respectively. By the same token Rotherham has had limited success in persuading Sheffield University to invest at Waverley and Manvers, although it is open to question whether the Council would be better going it alone given what happened to the University College of the Dearne Valley proposal back in 1993.
I await your reply with interest.