BARNSLEY Council is in discussions to purchase a ‘key building’ a stone’s throw away from the town centre’s public transport hub as part of a heritage-led makeover, the Chronicle can reveal. 

Eldon Street is set to receive a share of £2m in funding which will be used to regenerate and improve its appearance.  Given its close proximity to Barnsley Interchange, the £180m Glass Works scheme and Library @ the Lightbox, the council is in talks to buy 35 Eldon Street. 

The premises, which is currently a fish and chip shop, used to be a pub under the names of The Gatehouse, Devonshire Hotel and Beer Engine. 

Ruling cabinet members discussed the next steps of the proposal at a behind-closed-doors meeting last week, but the Chronicle understands part of the £2m pot – allocated as part of Historic England’s Historic High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme – will be used to purchase the building. 

Barnsley was awarded the funding after submitting a proposal that focuses on a heritage-led transformation of Eldon Street, which resulted in the building being identified due to its prominent location and its long history. 

In Text Promo Image

“It’s still in its early stages but we’re in discussions,” council leader Sir Steve Houghton confirmed to the Chronicle.  “We’re thrilled Eldon Street has been designated as a new Historic High Streets Heritage Action Zone. 

“This not only complements the investment that the council is making in improving Barnsley town centre, but enables local people to engage with their heritage and celebrate the new developments. 

“We’ve already worked with Historic England in Elsecar so know how positive and productive this partnership will be. 

“I have no doubt that this project will make an enormous difference to local people.  “We also know how important it is to drive Barnsley forward and make it a better place to live for our future generations. We’ve got some high and strong ambitions for the people of Barnsley and for the borough itself. 

“Our economic regeneration agenda is second to none, with huge developments in the town centre and a focus on creating jobs for the future.” 

Barnsley is one of 12 towns from Yorkshire which have been successful for the programme, which will regenerate high streets with a £95m cash injection. Eldon Street is seen as the epicentre for wider projects including the new Market Gate footbridge across the railway line, the nearby ‘Eastern Gateway’ site which the council plans to purchase from NPower and the Courthouse digital campus on County Way. 

A council regeneration report said. “The new Market Gate pedestrian bridge will open up significant opportunities for not only investment in infrastructure, but also adjacent areas. 

“Providing an improved link between the sites and the interchange will encourage movement on this route and enhance connectivity to the town centre. 

“The interchange’s west exit (which leads to Eldon Street) is the first view of Barnsley town centre for many of the visitors arriving by public transport. 

“The regeneration delivered will bring more visitors and movement, making the gateway increasingly important. 

“It is vital to create a positive first impression of a high quality, welcoming and animated town centre and to clearly guide visitors to their further destinations. 

“At the exit, there are a number of streets leading to different parts of the town centre. The proposals look to create a clearer hierarchy of routes and improved signage. 

“The unique character of the area with its network of pedestrianised streets, ginnels and arcades and hub for independent businesses should be celebrated.”