CONSULTATION on wide-ranging plans - designed to help attract up to £30m of investment into Barnsley’s out-of-town settlements to boost high streets and local economies - is underway.

A series of so-called ‘Town Investment Plans’ are being drawn up to attract further investment by setting out a proposed five-year investment programme.

This will help level-up local economies and create a network of economically viable high streets throughout Barnsley, according to the council.

The plans will cover a range of areas such as business growth, environment, transport links and employment for Cudworth, Hoyland, Penistone, Royston and Wombwell.

A Town Investment Plan has already been created for Goldthorpe - hailed as a ‘once-in-a-generation’, £23m boost - through the government’s Towns Fund.

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It’s the next stage of the Principal Towns programme - which was set up in recognition of the key role of high streets and urban centres across Barnsley - as a knock-on result of the town centre’s £200m Glass Works regeneration.

Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “We’ve quite rightly seen a lot of focus on Barnsley town centre recently, however our ‘Principal Towns’ are key to our economic regeneration and the long-term growth of Barnsley.

“We’ve/ already/ invested £5m into six Principal Towns and ten local centres to help them thrive,/ with another £30m/ planned over the next five years./

“These ambitious plans will help us secure this investment.

“We’re doing this because we want to keep our high streets growing and/ thriving/ with/ shops, markets, restaurants and/ a diverse night-time economy.

“We want local people to enjoy a pleasant and safe shopping experience in a place they are proud of and look after.

“We’ve already developed a Town Investment Plan for Goldthorpe and we want to use what we’ve learned there to create exciting development plans.

“We’re asking local people to help shape these plans so we can make sure they fit the priorities of local people and businesses.

“Developing local economies has always been the heart of the programme, however, since the impact of Covid-19 it’s even more important that residents, communities and businesses directly benefit from local growth activity.

“I’d urge everyone who wants to see our areas thriving as vibrant places with sustainable economies to get involved in this consultation and share your views.”

It is envisaged each plan will be drawn up following public consultation, before they are signed off by ruling cabinet members at a later date.

A report added: “The Principal Towns programme was established in recognition of the key role of high streets and urban centres across Barnsley.

“Each of out-of-town area has its own micro-economy, sector strengths, centres for business, work and employment opportunities and moments where communities to come together to celebrate their unique identities.”

* Visit barnsley.gov.uk/haveyoursay to fill in the consultation for your area by February 13.