CONSTRUCTION work on Barnsley Council’s multi-million pound Glass Works regeneration scheme in the town centre resumed this week after being halted due to coronavirus.
The ‘transformative’ scheme - due to be completed next April - was halted in order to adhere to social distancing measures, something which has delayed the project’s completion.
Once completed, the Glass Works is expected to welcome a 13-screen cinema multiplex, a bowling alley, Nando’s and retailers such as Next and Sports Direct.
Sarah Norman, chief executive of Barnsley Council, said: “There are two obvious impacts of the pandemic already and the first of those is there has been some delay to the construction of glassworks itself.
“There was a short period where they ceased construction while they were working out how they could do it in a socially-distanced way.
“They have now restarted construction for a few weeks, they have put all sorts of social distancing arrangements in place in order to keep the workforce safe but we have inevitably lost some time and at the moment they are not yet working at full productivity.
“In addition, we need to understand the impact on the leasing of the scheme, both in terms of the organisations that we’d already concluded lease arrangements with, and the organisations that we were seeking to get into these arrangements.
“There will be a detailed report coming to cabinet at the end of the month, I can say we’ve had some positive discussions already with the likes of Cineworld, and we can be confident that although there will need to be some changes to the scheme, I still do genuinely believe the scheme will be a success.”
Costs have crept up through the course of the development to a total of £180m for the construction work, but the council had to find another £10m to meet other costs, including money to meet loans in the early years of the project and to meet operating costs before the complex is completed and fully occupied.
Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesman for regeneration and culture, said: “The positive impact of the development across the town centre is already visible. An investment like this not only stimulates inward investment and economic growth, it creates more and better jobs - our initial estimates suggest that the scheme will generate approximately 1,100 jobs by 2025.
“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.
“For 2020 we’re committed to continue developing our high streets, with tailored offers to suit visitors’ needs, while encouraging investment in our borough.”