MULTI-MILLION pound bids for funding which would have ‘transformed’ one of the poorest areas of Barnsley have been rejected for a third time - prompting an MP to blast government ministers for overlooking the town.

Stephanie Peacock, the MP for Barnsley East, spoke in Parliament to highlight the government’s refusal to channel so-called ‘levelling up’ cash to villages such as Cudworth, Darfield, Great Houghton and Grimethorpe.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget could have seen cash set aside for the constituency but Barnsley East was again dismissed.

Funding would have gone towards the former site of Elsecar Ironworks after long-awaited £25m plans for a new heritage railway and rail college broke cover.

Stephanie told the Chronicle: “This was a chance for the government to issue funding to areas that have not yet received any, like Barnsley East.

“However, they did not do so, instead choosing to award money to more affluent areas even though Barnsley is in the 15 per cent most-deprived areas.

“It is disappointing as by the government’s own measures, Barnsley East is eligible for funding, but we are still waiting for it to be forthcoming, despite placing various bids in to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.”

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

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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.

But Ms Peacock’s constituency has been ‘left behind the curve’ - despite it being one of the worst-hit for funding cuts in the last decade.

She added: “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.

“Elsecar Heritage Centre is a fantastic place but we could make it even better.

“Barnsley Council has lost 40 per cent of its budget and half of its workforce since 2010, which is a loss of £1.2bn.

“Just £10m has been given back to the borough through levelling up funding.

“Communities cannot be expected to be grateful for that - levelling up was meant to support communities that needed it most.”