THE town centre Glass Works redevelopment project is set to have its total budget increased by more than £600,000.

Cabinet members will discuss the rise - set to be funded by a reduction in running costs - at Wednesday’s meeting.

A report said additional cost pressures have seen the overall capital cost of the Glass Works scheme increase from the £209.9m agreed by cabinet in June, by more than £1.4m.

These include £238,000 extra due to delays over the construction of the £9.7m Market Gate bridge - leading to further road closures and maintenance for the temporary bridge - which has also caused knock-on delays to public realm works at Midland Street.

A review of vacant units at the complex - of which there are 11, according to the report - has also identified an additional £233,000 to be spent in capital contributions.

It’s been noted the scheme has an underspend of £736,000, which together with the £667,000 from a reduction in running costs - due to the site’s six-month delay in opening after it was initially planned in May - will mean no new funding has to be approved to counter the deficit.

However, footfall and successful leases are both bucking the national trend.

Footfall in that month across the Glass Works and market was 397,421, which increased to 492,567 in December.

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In September, figures for the town centre as a whole stood at 647,190 - and while they fell in the following months, they remain close to pre-pandemic levels, with October’s 594,629 an increase of a fifth over 2019’s figure for the same month of 488,526.

“Centre for Cities (a national think-tank) has reported that Barnsley is unusual to see footfall at this level and has regularly featured in the media as an exemplary town centre where safety has been paramount and people are engaging regularly with their town centre,” said the report.

Barnsley’s indoor market recorded footfall of 221,100 in September which rose to 254,406 in December.

The report notes more than half of the 39 units in the Glass Works site have been let to retailers.

It said, in terms of space, 40 per cent of the 269,000 square feet in the site is now open, while a third is in the fit-out stages and around 17 per cent has had terms for let agreed.

“It is important to note that, when all of the leases currently sitting with solicitors are completed, the scheme will be 90 per cent let,” it added.

“Again, this significantly bucks the trend for schemes of this nature across the country, many of which have been badly hit by the impacts of the pandemic and is a resounding tribute to the work of the teams and our leasing agent in ensuring the scheme brings a fresh retail, leisure and hospitality offer to Barnsley.”