Prescott Praises Grimethorpe's Regeneration Progress

9 March 2010

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Former Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott MP praised the progress of Grimethorpe’s regeneration at a celebration event on Friday 5th March 2010 organised by partners Barnsley Council, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Yorkshire Forward and Transform South Yorkshire.

Marking the successful transformation of Grimethorpe in Barnsley – a former colliery town which is one of the 33 sites being regenerated in Yorkshire as part of national housing and regeneration delivery agency, the HCA’s National Coalfields Programme (NCP), Mr Prescott joined Grimethorpe residents, the world-famous Grimethorpe Colliery band and key local figureheads to look back over the achievements of the 15 year regeneration strategy through speeches, anecdotes and a public exhibition.

The area is particularly significant to Mr Prescott who championed the NCP after watching the film ‘Brassed Off’, which was based on the story of Grimethorpe. The Programme was started to assist former coalfield communities create new homes, employment.

Grimethorpe has seen investment of more than £146million with almost £82million through private finance. The event marks the successful regeneration of the area to date, which has included the cleanup of over 197 hectares of contaminated land, the creation of more than 1,500 local jobs and more than 400 new homes. Success so far has been made possible by initial investment of £22.7million through the HCA’s National Coalfields Programme (NCP), a long term regeneration strategy and a partnership approach to investment from Local Authorities, housing associations and private businesses.

Robert Napier, Chairman of the HCA, said: 'Grimethorpe is a key site within the National Coalfields Programme and we’re proud to be able to commemorate another benchmark in its history, as well as celebrating the significant transformation of the local area. This event celebrated the successful regeneration to date and recognized the economic, environmental and social benefits which are already being felt.'

Councillor Bill Newman, Cabinet spokesperson for Development at Barnsley Council, added: 'We are honoured to have welcomed John Prescott to the event and to give people the opportunity to come together and look back at what has been achieved. There is still much work to be done, but the work done to date gives the people of Grimethorpe a solid foundation for the future.'

The event included a plaque unveiling, an exhibition charting the progress of the a bus tour of the full site and a tour of bed spring manufacturer Leggett & Platt’s factory – an example of £16million new inward investment brought to the new industrial site at Park Springs.

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For further information please contact Rachael van Oudheusden on 0115 924 7132/ rachaelv@willoughby-pr.co.uk or Tom Hustler, Regional Communications Manager of the HCA (Yorkshire and Humber) on 07876 13148 / tom.hustler@hca.gsx.gov.uk

Notes to editors:

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England. Our role is to create opportunity for people to live in high quality, sustainable places. We provide funding for affordable housing, bring land back into productive use and improve quality of life by raising standards for the physical and social environment.

The HCA’s (formerly English Partnerships’) National Coalfields Programme (NCP) is a £386.5m (net) regeneration programme set up to breathe new life into coalfield communities across England following the widespread pit closures of the 1980s and 1990s. Working in partnership with Regional Development Agencies, Local Authorities, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the Alliance (formerly the Coalfields Communities Campaign), the private sector and a range of other stakeholders, the NCP provides investment in former colliery sites across England for the creation of new employment, homes, leisure facilities and public space.

The programme encompasses 107 sites from an original 57 identified in 1996. £483m public sector investment to date (as of January 2010) has levered in £937m private sector investment and resulted in over 2,350 hectares of brownfield land brought back into use, created over 17,800 jobs, over 1 million sqm of employment floorspace and over 2,500 new homes.