DELAYED plans for a £125 million shopping and leisure project in a South Yorkshire town centre could get back on track after a meeting next week.
Barnsley Council says its Marketplace Barnsley plans, which involve building a new market hall, department store, seven-screen cinema, shops and restaurants, are its ‘most important town centre redevelopment initiative’ currently under way.
However, the project has already fallen behind schedule since a new agreement with developers the 1249 Regeneration Partnership was signed in March. At that time, it was hoped the 4.5 hectare development would be completed by 2015 - but latest papers suggest ‘early 2016’ is the most ambitious date for opening.
Even if the regeneration project is completed by 2016, it will be a full five years behind the original schedule.
Members of Barnsley Council’s economy and skills scrutiny commission are to meet on Monday with representatives from the 1249 Regeneration Partnership.
Papers say councillors will be looking ‘at the redevelopment of the town centre and, in particular, whether it is on track and if it is going to be the springboard for reviving the local economy’.
A report by Barnsley Council’s borough secretary, Andrew Frosdick, says the markets development is vital for the future of Barnsley, which has higher unemployment than the national average.
“We need to promote private sector economic growth,” he said.
Planning consent for the development was granted last September.
Major firms, including department store Debenhams and cinema giant Odeon, have already confirmed they want to open up branches in the new shopping centre.