One of Sheffield City Region’s biggest-ever infrastructure schemes is already attracting businesses and opening up a major gateway to development.
SCR investment in the £55m plan to open up and develop the Dearne Valley A61/6195 Growth Corridor is a top priority for the region’s economic body in its drive to bring investment and jobs into the region, and to improve connectivity to the wider Northern Powerhouse.
It has worked in partnership with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, the scheme promoter, and alongside the Barnsley Property Investment Fund, which has been designed to stimulate the development of commercial sites and attract new businesses to the borough.
The first £8.9m phase of the SCR’s Local Enterprise Partnership investment has made key improvements to the Corridor’s link to Junction 36 of the M1. This phase includes a dedicated lane from the M1 slip road, preventing queues backing onto the M1 at J36, cutting local traffic jams, and improving bus journey times.
The infrastructure work massively improves access to development sites, enabling wider development to take place and in turn unlocking jobs growth. Later phases will build on this work, with the SCR currently having approved up to £15million in funding.
And already the SCR backing, with another £40m put into the Barnsley Council scheme by the private sector, has seen three major investors expand in the area. They are Talurit UK Ltd, part of the Swedish Talurit Group, which has made a £3m investment in a new building; global healthcare manufacturer Esco which has taken premises four times larger than its previous building, and the Environment Agency. The units were the first to be built with help from Barnsley Council Property Investment Fund.
Meanwhile, the SCR has put forward an area at Junction 36 as a potential logistics hub for the Heathrow Airport third runway expansion. If successful, it could be one of four UK sites to pre-assemble components before transporting them to Heathrow.
LEP leader Sir Nigel Knowles said: “The success the Sheffield City Region has seen with international businesses moving into the region was a very persuasive case for the LEP to invest in these junction improvements. The funding we have provided not only makes it much easier for business here, it unlocks a larger picture, encouraging economic growth and enabling the housing we want.
“That’s what the LEP is about – a pragmatic approach to getting on with what needs to be done. The SCR will create a foundation for decades of future development.”
David Shepherd, Service Director, Economic Regeneration at Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “This is a scheme which has major significance. It’s not solely a traditional highways scheme to help ease congestion, this facilitates the wider economic regeneration and growth requirements for both Barnsley and the Sheffield City Region.
“Resolving the road infrastructure issues on the M1 J36 is critical to opening up the regeneration and growth of the whole Dearne corridor.
“Without the scheme, the economic regeneration of the area would halt – there would be insufficient capacity on the highway network.”