BUSINESS cases put forward to benefit from a ‘transformational’ investment package - dubbed a once-in-a-generation scheme by Barnsley Council - were signed off by ruling cabinet members this week.
The £23m investment was previously approved for Goldthorpe after councillors, members of the community and local business owners came together to create an investment plan which laid out where the money would be spent across the area.
An initial consultation - which took place over a two-week period between August and September in 2020 - yielded plans to grow employment, improve active travel options, boost local amenities and improve the environment.
It was part of a larger £3.6bn ‘Towns Fund’ that was provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to help drive long-term economic growth and productivity in often neglected areas.
So far, Goldthorpe Market’s move - said to be declining due to its low footfall - to a new location on High Street has been agreed, the Horse and Groom pub has been demolished to create a new town square, an urban forest has been planted to support wildlife and active travel routes have been mapped out through Phoenix Park.
In February, planning permission was also granted for a new roundabout off A635 Barnsley Road to provide better access to an employment site in the council’s local plan development blueprint, and yesterday members of the Goldthorpe Town Board met to discuss the next steps.
Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “The Towns Fund gives us a genuine once-in-a-generation opportunity to make such a huge and meaningful investment in the future.
“We believe this ambitious plan will help give local people the best chance to thrive on a level playing field with better access to education and training, better access to more and better jobs on their doorstep, better connectivity to employment which might be further away, and an improved local high street and sense of place.
“We know the people of the Dearne Valley love their local area - we want to give them the best chance to thrive so that more of the current and future generations will choose to stay here, build their lives and raise their families without having to move away in search of work.”
New energy-efficient housing will also be built on a council-owned site off Market Street, yielding eight semi-detached homes and one detached bungalow.
Coun Alan Gardiner, a member of the Goldthorpe Town Board and its lead member for housing, added: “It’s fantastic news that the early support we’ve received from the Towns Fund already is allowing us to move forward with these plans for affordable, well-designed, spacious and secure homes which will help reduce fuel poverty and provide a shining example of the sort of homes we want for Barnsley.
“The properties will include air source heat pumps to provide central heating and hot water without a boiler, solar panels with battery back-up, and electric vehicle chargers alongside high levels of insulation and draught-proofing.
“The government/ says that/ we/ must provide/ 21,524 new homes by 2033, and we’re determined that our borough will have/ sustainable, quality/ housing.
“This Towns Fund investment will also allow us to begin work on a new town square and market right at the heart of Goldthorpe.”