THE estimated cost for Barnsley town centre’s redevelopment has soared to more than £178m according to the council tens of millions more than initially planned.

This week, the local authority’s ruling cabinet members were asked to consider a report which includes a number of proposed recommendations about the funding required to complete the scheme, including The Glass Works retail and leisure complex.

The report will now be discussed at a full council meeting, which will be held on Thursday.

Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said: “The borrowing and the day-to-day running costs will mainly be paid for from rents from the retail and leisure units, with the council also making a contribution from its own budget. The cost for the scheme is more than was originally intended but that £178.1m figure includes other things.

“There’s the wider public realm works, which will improve Queen Street, Peel Square and an area outside the transport interchange together with the construction of the Market Gate Bridge.

“Oversight, governance and value for money are at the core of everything the council delivers. We continue to stringently review all cost and income projections associated with the development, to make sure that value for money is demonstrated and achieved.

“Nothing has been committed as yet and we will decide if we will be proceeding with the report’s recommendations.

“There’s been various estimates for the town centre scheme and £150m was the original figure. Earlier on, we thought it could be done for less, which would have been great, but it was something we never expected. Now it’s more around the £160m to £165m mark and there’s £14m or £15m going towards other things such as the bridge and wider public realm. The cost estimate of the development has increased to reflect a more up-to-date design for the scheme including an increase in its size and scope.”

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The benefit to the town, the council says, is that the investment is expected to create new jobs an estimated 1,100 by 2025 and provide a major boost to Barnsley’s economy with the addition of big-name retailers to encourage shoppers, who would have previously gone to Sheffield and Leeds, to stay local.

“The positive impact of the development across the town centre is already visible,” Coun Houghton added. “The Glass Works is at an early stage in its development but there are already signs of new inward investment.

“There’s been interest from developers in the Courthouse Digital Campus project and a number of new bars and restaurants open, with additional ones planned. The redevelopment of our town centre has been a priority for the council for many years. We want our town centre to be a thriving and vibrant place and it’s great to see the plans coming to life.”

Diana Terris, chief executive of Barnsley Council, added: “There has been significant progress on the scheme already, with construction work on the Metropolitan Centre and the library well underway.

“Construction on the first phase is now complete and we’ve just opened Barnsley Market’s new food hall which looks fantastic. We’re confident that The Glass Works and improvements to the wider town centre will have a significantly positive impact for Barnsley residents.

“This proposal supports our corporate plan of creating a ‘thriving and vibrant economy’ and creating ‘strong and resilient communities’.”