A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme to boost out-of-town shopping locations as a knock-on result of Barnsley town centre’s ongoing redevelopment is starting to gather pace.

An update on the Principal Towns project is set to be given to ruling cabinet members on Wednesday, where it’s expected funding for Penistone and Royston - identified as two key areas - will be approved.

Penistone’s allocation totals £889,900 and notably includes a £556,000 sum to develop its town hall, £63,000 for the market barn, £100,000 for public realm wi-fi and art and £40,000 for bike storage.

Royston is set to receive £598,500 with the lion’s share - £400,000 - being allocated to creating workspace units following consultations with local councillors, who have been calling for more employment opportunities in recent years.

A council report said: “Residents of Principal Towns will see significant outcomes from this programme.

In Text Promo Image

“Community consultations have taken place, which have encouraged residents to have their say and voice their thoughts about improvements that could be made in their local area.

“More jobs are likely to increase footfall and contribute to a vibrant economy. Overall, this scheme is likely to have a sustained positive impact in providing new business space and new jobs, providing funding to revitalise the local high street.

“Penistone Town Hall will be multi-functional and flexible, for use by local art groups, community groups and young people. Additionally this space will be used to provide additional space for the Paramount to potentially screen niche films, hold jazz nights and comedy events.

“A further element that will be explored would be to incorporate a cafe or restaurant which would increase footfall for the museum element and would boost the night-time economy of the town.”

The market barn, identified as an ‘integral’ part of the town, is said to be underused due to its lack of weather-proofing and it was hit by a spate of antisocial behaviour, but improved CCTV is also set to arrive as part of the scheme to deter crime.

“We will engage with the community to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to utilise this space and showcase their interests, passions and talents to improve the vibrancy of the town,” the report added.

“A further issue is the lack of movement between the market and the High Street since the addition of the Tesco car park. Signage will be introduced to encourage visitors to the market.( “The purchase of traditional stalls will help to develop a market town identity and will be more suitable for market traders which will increase stall numbers.

“CCTV would also be provided to help residents feel safe in the area in line with the council’s current proposals.”

The idea behind the Principal Towns funding, according to the council, is to kick-start wider investment across local high streets to make sure the benefits of economic regeneration are felt across the borough.

Council director Matt Gladstone added: “The project aims to create a thriving high street with strong and resilient communities, so it’s really important to look at ideas that are ambitious and achievable.

“These exciting improvements will help encourage investment from the private sector and other funding streams to increase income generation across the borough.”