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Barnsley is fighting fit, not in tatters

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I am afraid that Barnsley folk are made of sterner stuff than your coverage of Multiplex's departure from one of our major projects suggests ('Alsop's Tuscan hill town in tatters', AJ 21.4.05).

Five other town-centre projects, with a development cost of around £75 million, will be on site during 2005, as will a further series of large-value projects in the rest of the borough.

The first steps in developing the 21st-century market town envisaged in the Alsop-inspired masterplan have already been taken. We remain confident of progress towards our goals, including the Markets Project.

It is sad to lose a partner we hoped we could work with. Multiplex, despite always professing its support for the project, including Piers Gough and Peter Mathias' excellent design, decided to review the scheme in light of changes to its business.

This review led to the clear conclusion that Multiplex no longer supported the proposals presented to us in July 2004 by the 1249 Regeneration Partnership. It was mutually agreed that Multiplex should depart the project and that a new funder should be sought - a process that is well in hand and is attracting significant interest.

Barnsley's renaissance is a robust programme of work. It has behind it the support of all the relevant public agencies, the private sector and the wider community of Barnsley. We are not in tatters, or even close.

David Kennedy, director of development, Barnsley Council

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