Rotherham business leaders call on town to unite

Andrew Denniff, Chief Executive of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber
Andrew Denniff, Chief Executive of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber
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Key Rotherham business leaders are calling for the town to unite in the wake of the latest damning scandal.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive of Rotherham and Barnsley Chamber of Commerce, spoke of frustration among businesses and residents looking for a fresh start.

Other businesses say they have struggled to attract custom given the damage done to the town’s image - even before the latest report came out.

Brian Johnston, owner of Cochineal in the town centre, said: “Four businesses here are going to be closing in the coming months.

“They just can’t sustain it with the drop in footfall over the last six months.

“Footfall has fallen dramatically. We have been saying this for the last six months and the council has not listened to anything that we have said.

“People aren’t coming because they have been put off by the negative image of Rotherham.

“Just when we thought we were starting to get back to normal, this happens.”

Chamber chief Mr Denniff said the solution was to pull together.

He said: “I think there’s a frustration out there, felt not only by businesses but by anybody who lives and works in Rotherham.

“This is not the town that we know.

“We have to come together to try to find solutions to this. We have to look for a fresh start.

“We understand that the Government is bringing five commissioners in to take control of the running of the town.

“From our point of view as a chamber, we want to work with them as soon as they are appointed, to provide help and assurance that we can be involved in that fresh start.

“Are businesses still going to come to Rotherham? Will investors in Rotherham be put off?

“These are things we are going to have to address. We can only do this by working together.

“We all have to accept that what is in the report is a reflection of what has been going on in Rotherham.

“As a Chamber of Commerce, we have a role to play. In simple terms, we have to be part of the solution.”