Sheffield City Region’s combined authority meeting, held in Doncaster on Monday, saw members formally agree a funding scheme for Barnsley which totals almost £16.9m.
The largest grant announced was £7.4m for the Glass Works development in Barnsley town centre, contributing to new retail and restaurant units, a market kitchen food court and offices.
The development, which is ongoing, aims to ‘revitalise Barnsley’s historic markets with a contemporary twist’ and create ‘a modern town centre with traditional community beliefs’.
The benefit to the town, Barnsley Council says, is that the investment is expected to create jobs - an estimated 1,100 by 2025 - and provide a major boost to Barnsley’s economy.
The addition of big-name retailers, it is hoped, will encourage shoppers who would have previously gone to Sheffield and Leeds, to stay local. A grant of £7.3m was also approved for road improvements along the M1’s junction 36 economic growth corridor, to deliver 73 hectares of new employment land.
Work will take place on three existing roundabouts, at Cathill, Broomhill and Wath Road, while a new roundabout will also be created off the A635 to create better links for businesses looking to set up in the location.
Finally, £2.1m was allocated to Barnsley’s Digital Media Centre - money which will go towards creating ‘DMC2’ - an extension plan which will allow new space for digital and creative businesses on County Way.
The current centre is close to capacity, so the second phase will enable the venue to become home to businesses of the future, also delivering up to 94 new full-time jobs.
Coun Roy Miller, cabinet spokesperson for place, said: “We’re delighted to secure this significant funding to support three major projects in the borough.
“The Glass Works development will transform the town centre, and this funding will support the creation of a fantastic retail, leisure and dining offer. The road improvements along junction 36’s growth corridor are vital to the wider economic regeneration and growth of Barnsley, and the wider Sheffield City Region.
“Our Digital Media Centre in Barnsley is also thriving and we are now able to progress plans for an exciting expansion to create DMC2, providing a real creative hub for businesses.
“Overall it’s fantastic news for Barnsley. This investment will drive forward our plans for more and better jobs in the borough, strengthen our economic growth and no doubt attract more visitors and businesses to the area.
“We have ambitious plans for Barnsley, and we are delighted this vision is being supported.”
The money - which comes from the local growth fund (LGF) - is government funding awarded to local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) for projects that benefit the local area and economy.
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, who is also the MP for Barnsley Central, said: “This funding is transformative. By investing in developments such as these we will create jobs, attract investment, boost our tourism offer and also continue our strong track record in building places where people want to live, work and play.
“I said that I would champion our region’s visitor economy, build on its significant strengths and seize new opportunities. This funding announcement shows that I’m making that ambition a reality.”
Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton told the Chronicle it was positive news, something which helps towards the local authority’s £180m investment in the town centre.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this and it’s taken a few years to see it through, but it’s good news as it compliments the funding the council’s put in,” he added.
“The redevelopment of the town centre is really progressing and we’re already starting to see positive results. We’re committed and that is evident with what we’ve achieved so far.
“Barnsley is becoming a hotbed for investment and that’s been proven with the amount of new businesses we saw open their doors in 2018, and 2019 promises to be another exciting year.”