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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 06:07 GMT 07:07 UK
92m invested in industrial past
Big Pit, Blaenavon
Big Pit has benefited from recent investment
A parnership of public and voluntary bodies has made a multimillion pound investment aiming to transform the industrial heritage of south Wales.

More than 92m has been earmarked to develop projects from Carmarthenshire to Monmouthshire and across the south Wales valleys over the next 10 years.

It will include developing hundreds of historic locations as well as abandoned railways, canals and buildings.

It is hoped it will create new leisure facilities and generate income.

The plans were announced by Herian - Heritage in Action, a public and voluntary sector partnership set up to help the region capitalise on its industrial past.

Herian, which is a partnership made up of 13 local authorities as well as other bodies including Cadw, the Forestry Commission, the National Trust and British Waterways, has audited 230 sites which could be developed under the 10-year-plan.

Industrial era

Herian said that it aims to invest in schemes which are designed to "unlock the economic and community value of south Wales' rich industrial past".

It has said that the money will be used for a variety of short, mid and long term projects including the redevelopment of abandoned railways and canals, which were used to transport coal and iron, into walkways and cycle routes.

This is all about telling the story of an era when Wales led the world
Jeff Pride, Herian

The body has already identified schemes totalling more than 58m to open up hundreds of currently unrecognised and largely unused sites which played a vital part during the industrial era.

It also plans to earmark a further 34m for town improvements and infrastructure schemes.

Over the next two years, 16m out of the total will be invested on achieving these aims.

The money will come from a variety of sources including the local authorities represented by Herian and bodies like the Wales Tourist Board, and it will also look at obtaining cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Jeff Pride, director of Herian said: "This is all about telling the story of an era when Wales led the world.

"Our aim is to bring it alive in the most vivid way so today's residents and visitors can explore the places and discover the many fascinating people who lived through this landmark period in history."

Mr Pride said that investment led to success and highlighted the Big Pit coal mining museum in Blaenavon, which recently won the Gulbenkian Prize for museum of the year following a 7.4m development.

He added that an additional 4m which had been spent developing historic trails and lesser known sites around the Blaenavon area had helped contribute to the success of Big Pit.

Herian said that work on the 10-year plan would begin in the summer on a variety of projects.

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