'Dragon' Rachel calls Rotherham revival

AN outspoken TV business guru who described Rotherham as “dismal” after an unhappy visit last year returned to the town this week to explain how she would revive its fortunes.

Dragons’ Den star Rachel Elnaugh gave her backing to Conservative General Election candidate Jackie Whiteley on Tuesday when she dropped into the Riverside Cafe in the town centre—the “greasy spoon” which prompted her to post a critique of Rotherham on her online blog.

Rachel returned to the cafe on Tuesday with Mrs Whiteley, borough councillor John Gilding and Tory local election candidate Russell Well to talk about encouraging an “enterprise culture” and regenerating the town centre.

“Rotherham sadly reflects the situation in many UK high streets where out of town shopping malls have destroyed local business,” she said.

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“Rotherham needs to recreate a prosperous town centre reflecting its unique character and rich history. 

“It needs to give shoppers a reason to come into the town centre.”

Mrs Whiteley said: “We need to build on the good work already done and to drive forward the regeneration of Rotherham, to raise civic pride and a sense of community and also to promote and develop the town centre as a good investment opportunity.

“It’s our pledge to regenerate Rotherham and to have the expertise of Rachel with her energy, enthusiasm and contacts, marks a significant development towards regenerating the town centre.”

Rachel threw her weight behind Mrs Whiteley and the Tories, adding: “What Rotherham desperately needs is new leadership to radically re-energise the town and get enterprise flowing again. ”

Mrs Whiteley added: “I am determined to get someone interested in coming to Rotherham and will continue to support Rotherham in this with Rachel's help.

“We need a coffee franchise such as Costa Coffee or Starbucks, too.

“It really is chicken and egg.

“We need people to come into the centre to show businesses that it is worthwhile to come here and we need businesses to attract people in.”

Read our previous coverage of Rachel Elnaugh. Click here.

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