AN ‘exciting’ transformation of Hoyland’s town square began last week as part of the council’s multi-million investment programme.

The new development is part of the council’s Principal Towns investment programme, which aims to improve local economies and support high streets across the borough.

More than £30m of external funding is set to be used to improve the borough’s six so-called Principal Towns and ten local centres in the next five years.

A council spokesperson said: “About £5m has already been invested into our six Principal Towns and ten local centres to help them thrive.

“This has already given us more than 60 projects either completed or underway. These include more than 500 local shop-front transformations.

“There are also community art projects and new public spaces created.”

The town’s Principal Towns are Cudworth, Goldthorpe, Hoyland, Penistone, Royston and Wombwell and the ten local centres are based in Athersley, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Darfield, Darton, Dodworth, Grimethorpe, Lundwood, Mapplewell, Stairfoot and Thurnscoe.

Works funded by the project include car parking improvements, new signage and shop front investments.

Work began on Monday and is due to be completed by the end of next month, after the start was delayed due to the Christmas period.

While there will be some hoarding in place around the works for safety, all businesses in the area will continue trading as normal.

There will also be a slight reduction in the number of parking spaces in Duke Street car park due to a temporary compound set up by our contractors.

Disruption will be kept to a minimum.

The works are being undertaken by Barnsley-based business, AmcoGiffen.

Dave Thomas, the firm’s director, said: “As a local company, we are proud to deliver this work in Hoyland. The works will take around four weeks and once complete the improvements will make a huge difference to the town centre.

“We’re eager to start work to do our bit to regenerate Hoyland town centre for residents, workers and visitors.”

Local councillor and former mayor Tim Shepherd has welcomed the start of the £160,000 scheme.

He told the Chronicle: “It was originally planned for November and December, but a decision had been taken to postpone the work so that shoppers and traders didn’t have to face disruption in the run up to Christmas.

He added: “I am really pleased that the agreed price for the work is lower than expected and would represent good value for the public.

“I am also very pleased that it is a Barnsley based company, who employs staff from the Hoyland area, that has been appointed to carry out the work.

“The main element of the scheme will be a raised plinth with an electricity supply that can be used for events.

“It will offer a place to sit but will also provide an ideal spot for the Christmas tree in future years.

“Solar lighting will also be installed around the plinth, ensuring it will provide a real focal point to our town centre.”

Other works in the immediate vicinity include cleaning and replacement of paving, cleaning of the stainless steel mural, the planting of an additional tree and Installation of gazebo-style market stalls with anchor points.

Coun Shepherd added: “I think it is also helpful to point out that this cash will also fund the removal of the metal gates on King Street, the installation of flexi-paving, two planters and putting in a footpath connecting Duke Street car park to West Street.”