BARNSLEY East MP Stephanie Peacock has called on the government to hand over long-awaited and much-needed ‘Levelling Up’ funding to her constituency for the first time, but the Chronicle understands the town’s leaders aren’t holding their breath.

Ms Peacock’s Barnsley East constituency has been rejected for Levelling Up cash twice by the government, despite ‘being deserving of support by all metrics’.

A third bid has been submitted by Barnsley Council based around Elsecar Heritage Centre - though neither the local authority or Ms Peacock are able to confirm a date for whether or not any funding will be allocated as part of the Cultural Fund.

The funding would go towards the former site of Elsecar Ironworks which is set to be transformed after long-awaited £25m plans for a new heritage railway and rail college broke cover last month.

Included in the ancient monument’s plans, which have taken a number of years to be drawn up, include a new heritage railway, a rail college, outdoor events, and more.

The railway destination will include a reconstructed 1849 Fitzwilliam locomotive powered by sustainable fuels, whilst the college will train almost 500 students every year.

Funding options are currently being explored by the council, with the development expected to cost around £25m.

It may be progressed in stages as funding becomes available.

The council have said the new development would transform the impact Elsecar can have for Barnsley and South Yorkshire communities and mean the village further becoming a national visitor destination.

It focuses on creating jobs, skills and quality life-changing experiences for South Yorkshire communities.

Ms Peacock said: “Barnsley East is deserving of levelling up money by any metric.

“We’ve been rejected by the government twice and we didn’t get any money on the third round a few weeks ago.

“Our bid was for Elsecar Heritage Centre where I have met with the local council to discuss the bid.

“It’s a fantastic place but we could make it even better.

“I’m really hopeful that the government will look favourable on our bid.

“I’ll be writing to them and hope they’ll make a decision soon.”

Barnsley finally received more than £10m in the so-called Levelling Up cash from the government in January - paving the way for a host of town centre projects to pick up pace.

Cash will be used to fund an activity park next to the town’s forthcoming youth zone off Schwabisch Gmund Way, a wellbeing hub based at YMCA on Blucher Street and the creation of the Northern Academy for Vocal Excellence (NAVE), which will become a permanent home for Barnsley Youth Choir.

The NAVE will bring the council’s former Computer Centre on the corner of St Mary’s Place and Westgate - which was built in 1879 and was previously the town’s courthouse until 1970 when Barnsley Magistrates’ Court opened - back into use.

There will also be a contribution to the major project to refurbish the Civic to secure its future and extend its reach, bringing into use parts of the building not used for many years so it can work with and attract new audiences, particularly young people under 30.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis has said that getting the government to release cash to Barnsley is ‘like getting blood from a stone’.

Despite Barnsley East not yet receiving any cash, the Chronicle understands the town’s top bosses aren’t overly-confident of their application being approved.

But Ms Peacock said: “I hope the government will do the right thing and deliver on levelling up Barnsley East.”