Property developer Henry Boot is working on a wide range of developments across Yorkshire that will breathe new life into towns and cities across the county.
The Sheffield-based firm recently completed the £44m first phase of The Glass Works, the Barnsley town centre redevelopment for Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, where it has built a new library, refurbished the Metropolitan Centre and made the town centre far more attractive. It has also started work on the £88m second phase for a mix of retail and leisure facilities.
Henry Boot’s chief executive John Sutcliffe said: “In total, The Glass Works contract for the regeneration of the town centre of Barnsley is for about £130m.
“The programme will include a Cineworld cinema, a bowling alley and lots of new retail. It’s a brand new town centre. I believe the local authority in Barnsley has been fantastically brave. Town centres are failing because retailers are going bust left, right and centre.
“What Barnsley has done is to take the bull by the horns and it has taken control of the town centre. They can keep the town centre active and I think they are really trying to deliver for their local population.”
He said the old town market is finding it very difficult to thrive.
“We have spent a significant amount of time completely renovating the old covered market and people in Barnsley and the market stall holders are incredibly pleased with phase one. It will be a lovely regeneration programme for the town centre,” he added.
To the North of the county, Henry Boot has seen unprecedented demand for luxury apartments at the former Terry’s Chocolate Factory in York.
Now that the main factory building has been completed, the firm has just obtained planning permission for the former clock tower. It will be converted into about 23 flats including iconic flats in the clock tower itself.
There will be two additional phases in future years at the site
“We have planning permission for 130 flats to one side of the former factory building and across the road there was a former car park and we are in discussion with a care home provider,” said Mr Sutcliffe.
Following the refurbishment of the Grade II listed St George’s Concert Hall for Bradford City Council, Henry Boot has started work on a £12m scheme for Opera North in Leeds. Mr Sutcliffe said this will be a full renovation of the Opera North facility.
“It’s a contract that will last about 12 months and will give them state of the art facilities with effect from the end of 2020,” he added.
Mr Sutcliffe was speaking as the group announced first half results.
Henry Boot said trading has started well in the second half of 2019 after profits fell 8 per cent in the first half.
The firm said it was pleased it managed to make a pre-tax profit of over £24m in the first half, given the uncertainties affecting the UK economy.
The group said it faces uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU and how this may affect future trading conditions.
Despite this, the firm said it has not been affected by Brexit so far.
Mr Sutcliffe said: “Henry Boot is a UK-focused business.
“To be fair, the economy is nowhere near as cautious as I thought it might be.”