AN £80m plan to create more than 7,000 jobs and 800 new businesses in Barnsley has been launched to stop the borough falling further behind the rest of the region.
The council’s ruling Cabinet has signed off a five-year economic investment plan to plough £25m of taxpayers’ cash into schemes including three 250-acre business parks, incentives for start-ups and a town centre Business Improvement District. It will also extend the European-funded Enterprising Barnsley business support scheme.
Other ideas include commissioning local companies to develop a marketing programme to improve the town’s image, to attract more visitors and investment.
A cabinet report states that ‘anticipated investment’ from other public bodies and private companies is set to total £55m, taking the overall value of the scheme to £80m.
It warns that if the town’s future is left to market forces ‘the economic performance gap between Barnsley and the region is likely to widen, thus placing the Borough in an even less favourable position for inward investment and business growth, while providing residents with fewer new economic opportunities.”
When combined with existing investment in projects such as Marketplace Barnsley - a £125m scheme to build a new shopping centre to improve the town’s shopping and create 1,300 jobs - and Experience Barnsley - a museum in the town hall set to open next year - a total of 5,537 general jobs and 2,400 new construction jobs could be created, with a further 2,700 people trained up for work.
The authority has also approved a 21-year strategy for growth which aims to improve the borough by boosting retail, business, training and tourist numbers.
Coun Linda Burgess, cabinet spokeswoman for development said: “This is an ambitious plan and builds on the foundations that have been laid over the past 15 years by working closely with our partners.
“Moving forward, the council will continue to play a pivotal role in working with the public and private sector partners to help reduce the jobs, the business and skills deficit and create the conditions to secure a broad housing mix and quality employment sites that will further encourage economic growth.”