A proposed project to revamp Barnsley town centre has received a major financial boost.
South Yorkshire council leaders along with Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis approved a £7.4 million loan to Barnsley Council to help with the Glassworks project.
SCR funding as part of the Local Growth Fund, will contribute to the delivery of the first phase of new retail and restaurant units, market kitchen food court, management suite and demolition of an existing multi storey car park.
The full scheme, includes 26 new retail units, four leisure units including a 13-screen Cineworld and a Superbowl Laser quest facility, seven restaurants, newly refurbished market hall and associated food hall a 500-space car park.
Reports show the development is expected to support the delivery of 682 full-time jobs.
A previous SCR loan of £2.14 million has been converted into a grant.
The scheme is expected to generate £35.5m in net present value GVA over a ten year period, which represents a return of £4.77 for every £1 invested.
SCR officer Melanie Dei Rossi told the meeting this was an ‘acceptable value for money investment’.
Two previous attempts to attract private investment were unsuccessful - one in 2012 and more recently in 2017. Barnsley Council then decided to fund the scheme.
It is hoped the development will tackle the estimated 47 per cent ‘leakage of catchment residents’ not using Barnsley as a shopping destination as evidenced in a 2016 report commissioned by the council.
Two other Barnsley schemes were also approved for loan fundung by the mayor and council leaders.
A grant of £7.32m has been approved for road improvements along the M1 J36 Economic Growth Corridor in Goldthorpe, to deliver 73 hectares of new employment land.
Works will take place on three existing roundabouts, at Cathill, Broomhill and Wath Road, while a new roundabout will also be created off the A635.
A £2.13m grant has also been approved for Barnsley's Digital Media Centre, to create a Digital Media Centre 2 providing new space for digital and creative businesses.
The current Digital Media Centre is close to capacity, so the second phase will enable the facility to become home to creative businesses of the future. The project aims to deliver up to 94 new full time jobs.
Coun Roy Miller, cabinet member for Place said: “We’re delighted to secure this significant funding to support three major projects in the borough.
"The Glass Works development will transform the town centre, and this funding will support the creation of a fantastic retail, leisure and dining offer.
“The road improvements along the J36 growth corridor are vital to the wider economic regeneration and growth of Barnsley, and the wider Sheffield City Region.
“Our Digital Media Centre here in Barnsley is also thriving, and we are now able to progress plans for an exciting expansion to create DMC2, providing a real creative hub for businesses.
"Overall it’s fantastic news for Barnsley. This investment will drive forward our plans for more and better jobs in the borough, strengthen our economic growth, and no doubt attract more visitors and businesses to the area.
“We have ambitious plans for Barnsley, and we are delighted this vision is being supported.”