Multi-million pound plans to give Barnsley a ‘vibrant’ town centre and boost investment are revealed today.
Proposals include a new shopping boulevard, revamped market hall and new town square where concerts and fairs could be held.
A state-of-the-art library and new car parking are also in the proposals from Barnsley Council – which will carry out consultation before they are given the final seal of approval and which is putting in £41m of funding.
Leader Sir Coun Stephen Houghton said the scheme was not all about retail – and would aim to keep Barnsley’s strong identity with independent stores.
He told The Star it would be ‘future proofed’ with hi-tech possibilities including click and collect options at the market and mobile phone apps that show shoppers the latest deals.
Coun Houghton said: “It’s about leisure, about a cultural offer, and using public assets to create a vibrant place. We are not putting all our eggs in one basket.
“The markets are going to be at the heart of it all as Barnsley is a market town.
“We want independents in there that make Barnsley unique, as well as the things everybody has.
“We are not trying to be Meadowhall, Leeds or Sheffield, and people will still go there, but sometimes they will come to Barnsley.”
The town centre last received a major refurbishment in the 1970s.
Coun Houghton added: “It is clearly well overdue and we are excited that next April work will start.”
The scheme is due to be complete by 2017.