The proposals, to be considered by the council’s cabinet next week, involve taking on the role of developer over the next three years, and committing £35 million to the following major programme of work:
- Demolition of the former county council offices and adjacent shops
- Redesign and redevelopment of the metropolitan centre and indoor market
- Proposed purchase of the former Training and Enterprise (TEC) building and adjacent property to the north of Kendray Street
- Redevelopment of the Kendray Street site as a leisure and retail centre
- Construction of a new, purpose built central library, to the value of £4 million
- Creation of a new public square to accommodate a new open market and town centre events
- Public realm improvements to the value of £6 million
- Work to attract new retail investment
It is proposed that the council and designated architects will develop more detailed plans over the next six months, and provide more detailed information this summer. The council will consult on the proposed designs with local businesses, market traders, and town centre users. They will consult on the design and accessibility of the proposed new library with library staff and users.
Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton CBE said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Barnsley and its town centre. This scheme will provide certainty to traders and businesses, and deliver the improvements that people have been waiting for.
“It is anticipated that the scheme will be delivered over a three year period, and will attract significant private sector investment. It will provide an opportunity for jobs to be safeguarded, and for additional jobs to be created, in the retail and construction sectors.”
Funding for the scheme is being provided by the council from monies raised through capital receipts in recent asset and land sales, as well as existing borrowing and approvals. The money spent on the scheme will have no impact on the council’s revenue budget or ability to maintain its essential services.
This scheme, combined with additional public realm improvements and the possible development of a brand new college building, would bring the total town centre investment to £57 million.
Work on the public realm will start in summer 2014. Work on the major scheme will start in early 2015. Further details and timescales will be available in summer.
*** This BMBC press release was issued published word for word with no additions, and was embargoed until Jan 24th.
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This is great news. The last few years has seen a strong eventment from various funding body into the arts in Barnsley. 2013 also saw a big increase in tourism and more than 50 start-up companies set up in Barnsley, and the claim that Barnsley town centre has a 95 per cent occupancy rate of retail premises, which is above the national average. Hopefully this news of new and substantial investment means that things will change in Barnsley. It’s been long overdue.