Ambitious schemes to transform Dearne town

Sheffield Uni students working on development plan for Goldthorpe
Sheffield Uni students working on development plan for Goldthorpe

University students are halfway through projects that aim to help transform Goldthorpe for its community, and attract newcomers to the town.

The studio group from the Sheffield School of Architecture have been based in the Dearne town since November, working towards final proposals that will be shown within a May exhibition.

Their projects explore alternative forms of development based on social enterprise and non-market production, placing social value above real estate. Students hope to offer a vision of Goldthorpe as a resilient, sustainable community, with lasting opportunities for high quality housing, education, employment and recreation.

Work began with a detailed investigation of Goldthorpe, allowing the group to understand the physical and cultural heritage of the former mining town. Then students moved on to develop proposals ranging from large scale landscape schemes to buildings offering skills training and new forms of manufacturing.

Last month, students met up with local residents to discuss initial ideas and gauge reaction to what they might be proposing.

Suggestions could include social enterprises such as youth clubs and skill cafes. A community currency, such as the Bristol Pound, is another possibility, or a community-owned social firm to provide skills training and employment ranging from art and ceramics to robotic manufacturing.

Another scheme would use phyto-remediation to ‘repair the landscapes’ around the area, with wood workshops and bio-mass community heating. And a further approach sees the dismantled railway re-occupied to restore ‘civic pride in the name of Goldthorpe’.

Defining Goldthorpe as a place and using the soon to be vacant old school site in town as an ‘urban room’ with community and learning space is another proposal.