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IP/01/1741

Brussels, 5 December 2001

Urban II programme : European Union contributes EURO 10.6 million for urban regeneration in West Wrexham, Wales

Michel BARNIER, Member of the European Commission responsible for regional policy, will sign today the new URBAN II programme for West Wrexham in Wales in the presence of Rhodri Morgan, First Minister in the National Assembly for Wales. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 10.6 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 10.1 million in further investment from the public sector and € 0.5 million from the private sector, creating total resources of € 21.2 million. Priorities will include entrepreneurship and business development and community participation.

About this programme, Mr BARNIER said: "The URBAN Initiative is a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration. The programmes have a strong "grassroots" emphasis, involving local people at all stages in the decision making process. The programme for West Wrexham is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme priorities of entrepreneurship and business development and community participation. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in the West Wrexham area."

The programme area covers nine wards(2) in West Wrexham, with a population of 28,760. The area has a legacy of industrial decline associated with the disappearance of steel-making and mineral extraction and consequently suffers from a range of economic, social and physical problems.

The programme aims to tackle these problems with two main priorities:

  • Entrepreneurship and business development. Key actions include encouraging community enterprise and self employment and improving the competitiveness and efficiency of new and existing businesses (Community contribution: € 4.89 million);

  • Community participation. Key actions include overcoming barriers to the participation of people from the community in the labour market and developing an active and empowered community (Community contribution: € 4.89 million).

An additional amount of € 0.85 million (Community contribution) will finance technical assistance.

As with all URBAN programmes, this programme will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the responsibility of Mr Barnier.

URBAN

The aim of the URBAN Community Initiative is the "economic and social regeneration of cities and of neighbourhoods in crisis in order to promote sustainable urban development". The second round of URBAN ("URBAN II") will cover the period 2000-2006, supporting 70 deprived urban areas across the EU. Total funding from he EU alone will be € 728.3 million and this will attract at least as much again in matched funding from both public and private sectors.

The total URBAN allocation for the United Kingdom amounts to € 121.7 million. Programmes have been submitted for West Wrexham, Belfast, Bristol, Burnley, Halifax, Hetton and Murton, Normanton/Derby, Peterborough, Stockwell, Thames Gateway and Clyde Waterfront.

A particular feature of URBAN II is the development of innovative models for urban regeneration. Another feature is a strong emphasis on partnership and on involving local actors. There will also be an exchange of information and experience on sustainable urban development across the European Union.

URBAN II is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Funding is available for initiatives such as the renovation of buildings and public spaces, local employment initiatives, the improvement of education and training systems for disadvantaged groups, the development of environmentally friendly public transport systems, the introduction of more efficient energy management systems and the use of renewable energy, developing the potential created by information society technologies.

The Commission adopts programmes which are proposed by a partnership including local and community groups. These programmes run for the whole of the period 2001-2006 and local actors are involved at all stages in this process.

Managing Authority

The managing authority for this programme is the National Assembly for Wales.

Day-to-day management of the Wrexham programme is delegated to:

The Welsh European Funding Office

Cathays Park

Cardiff CF10 3NQ

Phone: +29 2082 3517

Fax:  +29 2082 3900

E-mail: francis.cairns@wales.gsi.gov.uk

Further information

More detailed information on the URBAN II programme can be found in MEMO/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or at the following websites:

European Commission : http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/urban2/

(1) See below for a description of Urban II

(2) Brymbo, Bryn Cefn, Coedpoeth, Gwenfro, Gwersyllt East and South, Gwersyllt North, Gwersyllt West, Llay and New Broughton


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