Investment proposals for Penistone would outstrip the cash expected to go to other communities

Penistone’s ambitious town centre regeneration project could swallow up almost 20 per cent of the cash available for work across the whole of Barnsley borough, it has emerged, because of quality of the proposals made for the future.

Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 4:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 2:03 pm
Investment: Penistone could see important changes

A decision still has to be made by Barnsley Council’s ruling Cabinet on how much money should be allocated to the project, from £5m set aside by the authority to renovate six ‘principal towns’ like Penistone and 11 smaller urban centres.

However, Penistone Town Councillor Andrew Millner told a meeting the figure under discussion was in excess of double an investment of £400,000 originally suggested for the project. The exact figure has yet to be revealed, but Coun Millner’s estimate would see it approaching £1m, or 20 per cent of the borough’s total budget.

The scheme could see the Paramount cinema and adjoining town hall regenerated with a smaller second screen and room for a third outdoor screen in a new outdoor auditorium.

Other changes could include a ‘Penistone sheep’ art trail, using decorated sheep statues similar to the Sheffield elephants and Hull frogs installed successfully in recent years, as well as an upgrade to the market barn and facilities to encourage cycling and tourism in the wake of the success of Tour de Yorkshire events.

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If the scheme is approved by Cabinet members, work will begin on the fine detail of the proposals, which will involve more consultations in the area, including the town council which holds the lease to the Paramount.

Coun Joe Unsworth questioned why the town council had not been more deeply involved in bringing the proposals to the current level but Coun Andrew Millner said: “If this gets through we will be delighted. It is considerably more than some other principal towns, from the £5m budget. We have got more than double what we were expecting.”

The meeting was told by council officer Fiona O’Brien: “One of the things recognised by the commissioning board was that community consultation was a lot stronger than some areas. We were told to encourage other areas to look towards what Penistone was doing.

“The amount I have been asking for Penistone is three times what some areas are bidding for. I always said, on principal towns it would be done on merit. Penistone’s bid.....is a lot stronger than other principal town bids. That is reflected in the amount being asked for,” she said.