Landmark building could be brought back to use with a flats development

A landmark building in Barnsley town centre could be given a new future as a flats complex – around 90 years after it was constructed as a building society’s headquarters.

By Paul Whitehouse
Monday, 4th March 2019, 7:36 am
Updated Monday, 4th March 2019, 7:37 am
Impressive: The old Barnsley Building Society headquarters could have a new future
Impressive: The old Barnsley Building Society headquarters could have a new future

The Permanent building on the corner of Church Street and Regent Street – opposite the town hall – went up in the 1930s as headquarters of the Barnsley Building Society.

But that organisation found itself in trouble during the financial crash, because it had large investments in Iceland which was badly affected by international problems, and merged with the Yorkshire Building Society as a result.

That left the Barnsley headquarters redundant and the building ended up as a solicitors’ office, but has been empty for the last two years and Barnsley Council is now being asked for permission to turn it into a complex of flats, with a ‘high end’ coffee shop on the ground floor.

Two planning applications will cover the flats, ranging from studios to two bedroomed units, with one for 11 on the ground floor and the other for 14 in other parts of the building.

According to papers submitted to the council, there is little prospect of the building, built in the Art Deco style and retaining many impressive interior features, including a lift and marble work, being used for commercial purposes in future.

The applicants believe many of the building’s distinctive features, such as stained glass roof lights, could be retained by redevelopment and the exterior would remain little altered.

Planners have been told the redevelopment would be viable only if 25 flats could be created within the available space, with little room to absorb unexpected expenses with the project.

It is also argued the development should be exempt from providing affordable homes, something which is normally expected of any development with more than 15 new homes.

A decision on whether to allow the proposals will be made later.