Price of gates costed by council seeking to keep youth gangs out of market barn

Insecure: Penistone's market barn could be sealed off at night
Insecure: Penistone's market barn could be sealed off at night
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A market barn plagued by anti-social behaviour could now be gated off when out of use to prevent youth gangs using the building as a meeting place and causing problems.

But the development would not rule out them using the barn in Penistone altogether – with the possibility it could be opened up for them in the evenings, but on a formal basis to help ensure behaviour was acceptable.

The timber barn was constructed as part of the town centre redevelopment years ago and has been plagued with problems since, because access to the building was left open and it became a gathering point for teenagers.

They have been blamed for damaging the building itself and leaving litter and debris behind, after building informal skateboard ramps, leaving traders to clear up before being able to start their own work.

Coun Andrew Millner has said Barnsley Council has been looking at the options for the future of the building, and told Penistone Town Councillors: “One option is putting in gates which can be opened and closed out of hours.

“It would not preclude the barn from being used out of hours.We have had some preliminary costs, I think it will take a while but hopefully it will be resolved.”

It has previously been suggested that the barn provides a dry gathering point for youngsters who otherwise lack a focal point in the area and Coun Millner said: “I agree young people need an outlet but perhaps it could be done through the youth club, or with the barn opened up specially for them rather than it just being abused by them, as it is.”

The barn has had a controversial history, after being built to a traditional design around an oak frame.

Several attempts have been made to bring the structure into more regular use, rather than the routine Thursday and Saturday markets, but none have been long-lasting and some people in the area believe the design was wrong for the needs of the community, with the building also going up at the wrong location, where it is affected by wind and is largely in shadow.