New jobs, businesses, and opportunities promised for Stocksbridge thanks to ‘desperately needed’ £24 million investment
New jobs, businesses, and opportunities have been promised for Stocksbridge after the government committed £24 million worth of 'desperately needed investment’ to improve the town.
The former steel works centre is among 45 areas in England chosen for £1 billion worth of new Town Deals to support ‘long-term economic and social regeneration’ and their recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.
At the heart of the redevelopment will be the transformation of the Manchester Road area, with empty shops and derelict buildings renovated. Plans include a new library and information centre on the current council-owned library site. A new ‘reliable’ local bus network serving more areas will also be created.
Conservative MP for for Penistone and Stocksbridge Miriam Cates, said: “This is a clear vote of confidence in our area and gives us the chance to build a better future by attracting new jobs, businesses, and opportunities to the town.
"We must now focus on delivering a programme that can be truly transformative for Stocksbridge, Deepcar, and the surrounding area.”
The investment is predicted to create around 200 new office-based jobs in growing industries such as digital services over the next five years.
The money will also fund a new post-16 education centre at Stocksbridge High School, which will offer adult skills training, as well as better sports facilities at Oxley Park.
A Town Investment Plan for improvements submitted to the government was developed following ‘extensive consultation’ with local residents about what they would like to see improved in the town.
Ms Cates said: "The Town Deal offers the targeted investment that Stocksbridge so desperately needs. It will regenerate our local economy, upskill our workforce and provide the conditions to grow for the future."
The money is set to be released by the government next year – but could come sooner – and forms part of their ‘levelling up’ agenda for areas deemed to have been left behind. The Town Investment Plan must be completed by March 2026.
Goldthorpe in Barnsley was also chosen to receive investment, as well as Staveley in Chesterfield, but Doncaster and Rotherham missed out on this occasion.
There was further disappointment and frustration as the region missed out on a Freeport based on Doncaster Sheffield Airport, predicted to create thousands of jobs.
Responding to the Budget, mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis said: “This Budget was a political ploy, not a plan for people and places across South Yorkshire and the North who need support to be levelled up after the pandemic.
“A cursory glance the Government’s criteria for the Levelling Up Fund is symbolic of their divide and rule approach.”
More investment for struggling towns could be announced in the future, a spokesperson for Ms Cates said.
Mr Jarvis added: “The Chancellor has identified his own Richmond seat as ‘category one’ and relocated his Treasury office to a neighbouring constituency, but has labelled places like Barnsley and Sheffield as ‘category two’ – pushing them to the back of the queue for economic support.
"Ministers must change their approach, or they will put the country on course for a deeply divided recovery.”