LOCAL authority housing bosses are set to spend £1.2m creating a ‘retirement village’ in Barnsley town centre, documents have revealed.

Ruling cabinet members are expected to agree the funding required for the purchase, conversion and refurbishment of Berneslai Close, which forms part of an ongoing scheme overseen by current site owner McCarthy and Stone Limited.

A former hospital building more recently used as council offices on the site has been demolished by the firm, making way for its 60-apartment scheme, although the council has outlined a plan to effectively buy back a part of the site in order to create nine properties.

The report said: “McCarthy and Stone made a successful planning application for all elements of the development, including the change of use and refurbishment of the retained building, to provide nine apartments. The final amended application was approved in June 2019. ( “For about a year, Berneslai Homes have held regular meetings with senior officers of McCarthy and Stone, their technical consultants and NPS, our consultants. The purpose of these meetings has been to optimise the approach and ensure that the two buildings work together, have complimentary access to utility services and designs are complimentary where appropriate.

“The council had previously marketed the whole of Berneslai Close’s complex when the building became surplus to requirements several years ago and received very little interest.

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“McCarthy and Stone were the first organisation to show serious interest in the building and willingness to commit resources to the regeneration of the site. As such, they have provided a catalyst for the redevelopment of the area.

“However, they have no desire to take the conversion of the retained building forward and have been seeking a partner to work with them to own and redevelop the building sympathetically.”

According to the report - which will go before cabinet on January 8 - the council’s land purchase will cost £197,000 but the works have been allocated £985,000. Fees of £67,000 and specialist service costs of £20,000 have also been added.

The report added: “The development of the scheme by Berneslai Homes near the heart of Barnsley will assist with the generation of community confidence in the area and be a clear indication of the council’s commitment to invest in the central area of the town.

“The proposal will bring a currently empty and unused building back into productive use.”