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Last Updated: Monday, 22 November, 2004, 12:51 GMT
Valleys told 'work together'
Building work
Almost 1bn is being spent to regenerate the valleys
Plans for a new partnership to spend 12m on regeneration in the Heads of the Valleys area have been announced.

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies set out the group's objectives, initial programme and resources.

He said almost 1bn a year was already being spent in the valleys, but local councils must work together if the money was to be used effectively.

His talk to all the partners involved was at the former Corus tinplate works, now the Ebbw Vale Innovation Centre.

We can regenerate, we can really bring confidence back into local communities
Andrew Davies AM

Earlier this year, he called the councils together to express his concern that some of them were struggling to deliver real benefits from the millions of pounds on offer to regenerate communities.

Ahead of the launch, he said: "We are making a huge investment already but I feel we need to get even greater value for the investment we are making.

"We found from previous regeneration projects that if we can get everybody working together as Team Wales, we can regenerate, we can really bring confidence back into local communities.

"We can get them to develop and get people to realise their potential."

On Merthyr Tydfil's Cyfarthfa retail park, 35m of private money is being invested.

Merthyr council chief executive Alistair Neill said: "What we have been pushing forward as a reason for people to invest in Merthyr Tydfil is it is the new regional strategic centre for the valleys.

"We are now the fifth most popular retail location in the south Wales valleys area."


The first stage of the launch is at the engine house on the site of the old ironworks at Dowlais, in Merthyr Tydfil.

That was where in November 1936, during a tour of the south Wales Valleys, King Edward VIII made his famous "something must be done" comment about the poverty in the area during the depression of the 1930s.

The engine house is currently being renovated and refurbished with the help of the assembly government.

It is designed to be a focal point for community activities as well as being planned to house one of the 82 Digilab computer centres across Wales.

The Digilab network has received over 8m funding from the Assembly Government Objective 1 programme, with match funding by the information technology firm, Fujitsu.

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