A FAST-MOVING scheme to create an ‘urban village’ in the town centre - which consists of 200 homes, a luxury apartment complex and a hotel - is set to take a step closer to reality under ambitious plans outlined by Barnsley Council bosses this week.
Documents relating to the local authority’s so-called ‘Town Centre Plan’ - which relates to proposed developments on Regent Street, Cheapside and County Way - will be discussed by ruling cabinet members on Wednesday.
The Chronicle can reveal plans for 45 ‘high-end’ apartments on 18 Regent Street, demolition work on Cheapside to create an urban park, homes and a hotel on County Way and 100-plus houses on a former electricity depot near Harborough Hill Road, known as the Eastern Gateway site.
The long-mooted urban village scheme, if signed off, will go before full council a day later for adoption, the Chronicle understands, and is a response to studies concluding the town centre has a lack of homes available.
Each site - all nearby Barnsley Interchange - has been selected to address that need and make use of the improved retail offer at the Glass Works.
Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “Our town centre has been improved so much with the investment in the Glass Works and the wider street scene.
“We want to do more - if we stand still, the borough’s economy will stand still.
“Our borough will have better homes, jobs, services and transport links, and this plan makes sure everything we do in our town centre is moving us in the right direction.
“The completion of the Glass Works is more of a beginning than an ending.
“We want to keep adding more and more reasons for people to be in town, making it a great place to live, learn and do business.”
Funding - from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Future High Street initiative - has already been secured.
The cash will allow ‘The Seam’ - a so-called campus for digital business growth on County Way - and nearby Eldon Street to be redeveloped thanks to more than £15m of government money.
It is anticipated The Seam will also yield a mixture of one, two, three and four-bedroom homes in the coming years.
A council report added: “We want to create a vibrant and sustainable community.
“The landscape of town centres has changed dramatically over the last decade, with high streets seeing significant changes including the closure of many well-known retailers.
“Nationally, we can see an increasing emphasis on town centres shifting from a primary retail driven approach, and evolving back to include more residential, cultural and leisure uses.
“Barnsley is at the forefront of this shift and we have invested significantly in the town centre with the Glass Works, as well as new public realm, the installation of public art and public health initiatives such as smoke-free zones.
“The town centre regeneration plans will continue to be the foundation of the council’s economic, jobs-led recovery plan.
“There is a limited number of residential units, with around 700 homes around the Churchfields area and newly-completed apartments in Gateway Plaza and City Reach, proving a further 298 units between them.
“The aim is to develop the town centre into a destination with facilities that make it attractive to retain and attract higher-skilled workers and businesses across a broad range of sectors.”