A Tale of Two Villages
20 years after its pit shut, the iconic Yorkshire village of Grimethorpe is thriving. So what's behind its successful regeneration and why have other villages fared less well?
When Michael Heseltine announced that Grimethorpe was closing villagers feared for their future. Crime levels shot up to unprecedented levels and property prices plummeted. Drugs were blighting lives and making people feel unsafe in their streets. But a group of villagers decided to try and stop the rot. They formed a successful Neighbourhood Watch project and began driving the dealers out.
Alongside their efforts, Barnsley Council spearheaded a multi million pound regeneration initiative to decontaminate the former pit site, build new road links, attract businesses and create a housing market. Among the employers to come to the area is the international online fashion retailer ASOS which is now the area's biggest private sector employer.
A palpable sense of hope now fills the village and people feel their future is once again secure.
But five miles east in the pit village of Thurnscoe residents are still waiting for regeneration to make a difference to their daily lives. Many people there feel that the village is dying on its feet and that the money spent hasn't delivered jobs or hope.
So why the difference? How did they take the grim out of Grimethorpe?
Producer Sally Chesworth.