Thrybergh and Rother Valley Country Park upgrades slightly scaled back due to cost pressures
A new waterside cafe will be built at both visitor attractions thanks to £8 million of Levelling Up cash approved by the government in October 2021.
But the rising interest rates and other challenging market conditions have led to the removal of the car park improvements at Thrybergh, while Rother Valley will not have its new “village centre” or extended children’s play area.
Cllr Michael Bennett-Sylvester, Dalton & Thrybergh ward, said: “It’s disappointing to see the plans are being scaled back and scaled down, and also we’re not going to have a cafe in place until potentially August next year.
“We’re being told it’s due to inflationary pressures. When we went through the consultation last year, those inflationary pressures were already becoming visible for people.
“So I’m just wondering how much it is down to that and what’s being done to hopefully speed the pace of bringing this forward so as we don’t have such an impact.”
The schemes are set to cost £5.5 million at Rother Valley and £2.5 million at Thrybergh.
Thrybergh’s new cafe will seat 80 inside and 100 more outside, while Rother Valley’s will have a capacity of 150 and an upstairs function room.
The car park at Thrybergh would have provided an additional 152 spaces, plus six disabled spaces at the water’s edge.
The £8 million spend was allocated by cabinet members last week (7).
But Cllr Bennett-Sylvester said: “From the outside, it looks like we’re behind schedule again.”
RMBC leader Cllr Chris Read said the capital build programme happening across town was on a scale not seen before in Rotherham.
He added: “The 1960s house-building might be the only time that you get something comparable.
“We have been very successful in securing government grants but we are doing that at a time when, after Covid, with a load of public money coming through the national economy, inflation is running at ten per cent and the economic headwinds are against us.”
Construction is set to start before the end of the year at both sites, with Thrybergh’s project open by August next year and Rother Valley by spring 2025.