The area affected by the shut down had built up a long-term dependency on a single large manufacturer which decided to close most of its manufacturing capacity in the area. Traditionally people would have had an expectation of employment in one of the company manufacturing units in the area. There was therefore a twin effect for the area, a loss of immediate employment and a fear of reduced opportunity for young people. The challenge was to develop an integrated strategy for the area and to overcome community fears and create a confidence that the area could and would recover.
Working through a multi-disciplinary team and based upon an extensive open consultation process, an integrated strategy for the area was developed. Agreement was achieved across both the public and private sector to re-focus investment priorities and planned funding programmes. A local structure was created to oversee an action plan which had short, medium and long-term objectives. These objectives were embedded into the local and national development agencies, local authorities and local business interests.
Confidence in the area began to improve. Direct implementation began to deliver on short term objectives which demonstrated the positive aspects of the agreed approach to tackling the shut down impact. The company originally involved in the shut down decision began to recruit again in new service areas facilitated by the partners in the process. Greater priority in public investment resulted in the delivery of improved facilities in education, training and leisure and amenity. The built environment was also enhanced.