The Dearne Valley is set for a jobs and homes bonanza under ambitious plans to boost the area’s economy by £7 billion.
Business bosses have unveiled proposals to radically improve the area’s transport links and infrastructure which it is hoped will create up to 10,700 jobs and see 3,600 homes built.
The £24.4 million Dearne Valley Corridor project has been ranked as the top priority in a list of 19 major regeneration schemes that business chiefs would like to see kickstart South Yorkshire’s economy.
They have hailed the plans as having a ‘huge scale of opportunity to boost economic growth’.
The proposals by the Sheffield City Region Local Transport Body (LTB) would see carriageway improvements made to Birdwell and Rockingham roundabouts on the Dearne Valley Parkway. There would also be improvements made to the approach road along the A6195 and A633 in Wombwell, Broomhill and Darfield.
In addition, the plans reveal a scheme to decontaminate and install utilities at sites close to the Parkway, so the land could be used for redevelopment.
Regeneration bosses believe that having better transport and infrastructure links will help future development projects to get off the ground.
Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, leader of Barnsley Council and LTB chairman, said: “Through this process, the LTB has compared the largest transport and infrastructure projects across the city region and ranked their impact on economic growth and jobs.
“This analysis shows the huge scale of opportunity to boost economic growth.”
Also included on the list is a £5.3 million proposal to improve transport links between Cudworth and Grimethorpe. This could lead to the future creation of up to 2,000 jobs and 870 homes.
In addition, there is a proposal to increase road capacity and to open up land around the Parkgate Retail World. The LTB has formulated the list based on which projects it believes will have the biggest impact in terms of economic growth.
Its preferred list will be sent to the Department of Transport for consideration this month.
Once assessed, the schemes will go into further rounds of assessment, which will help the LTB to decide which projects to take forward and which to reject.
It is envisaged that the projects that are taken forward will be funded through a ‘City Deal’ scheme brokered with the Government last year giving more power to regional decision makers. The deal means around £113 million in government funding is expected to be released over a ten year period.
James Newman, LTB board member and chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), added: “Local leaders are working together to make sure that we make the most effective investment decisions for the Sheffield City Region.
“The Government recognises that local decisions are better made by local leaders – who have a better idea about what is needed to stimulate economic growth and create sustainable jobs.”
A public consultation on the proposals is expected to take place between August 1 and September 15.
A report detailing the list of proposals and public consultation plan is expected to be rubber stamped at a meeting of the LTB at Rotherham Town Hall tomorrow morning.
Further details of the scheme can be viewed on the Sheffield City Region website at www.sheffieldcityregion.org.uk