BARNSLEY Council leaders have reiterated their commitment to the town centre’s Glass Works scheme - which will help employ 1,100 people in the town - despite the costs rapidly rising.

This follows last week’s report stating that the cost of the development had reached £180m, but the council had to find another £10m to reach other costs - costs which are expected to rise due to the current delay.

Despite work to the area slowing down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the scheme is still set to be completed by late 2021 - only a few months later than originally scheduled.

The report, which council members approved, shows that the delay was kept to a minimum due to the close work by the council and contractor Henry Boot.

The site is currently running at around 75 per cent capacity, though thanks to the recent government guidelines set out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, this is likely to increase in the coming weeks.

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Ryan O’Loughlin, director at Henry Boot, said: “Our first priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our people and the communities we work in.

“The Glass Works team have done a tremendous job in overcoming the unique challenges posed by Covid-19.

“The team continue to review how tasks can be performed effectively and safely, while operating in line with the government’s directives as issued by Public Health England.”

The report also states that the the council is in negotiations with two national companies for the scheme, in addition to the ten already signed - which include Cineworld, Next and Sports Direct.

Overall, the scheme is set to create around 1,100 jobs in the town by 2025 - jobs that will help aid Barnsley’s economic recovery plan.

Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesman for place, said: “We are committed to the Glass Works now more than ever, illustrated by the measures we continue to take to ensure the scheme is a success.

“There’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the opening date of the scheme.

“Our development partner, Queensberry, is preparing a report that analyses the impact of the pandemic on the retail and leisure market. While we will remain flexible in our letting approach and will change our strategy if necessary, any operators we bring to Barnsley will continue to be the right ones for the scheme and the town.”

Traders inside Barnsley Market and the Market Kitchen have received rent breaks to help them through the difficult trading period - which is in addition to the grants that several town centre businesses have received.

“It’s great that we’ve managed to keep essential market stalls open and trading during the pandemic so far,” Coun Cheetham added.

“We’re now edging closer to its wider re-opening, and more details will be communicated in due course.

“As more businesses are re-opening all the time, we hope people will return to the town centre, travelling sensibly and spending in the local economy while following the advice and safety restrictions businesses have introduced that will help keep the town safe, prosperous and working.”