Exhibition showcase for town’s market regeneration project

PLANS for Barnsley’s long delayed new market and retail development, which is set to “change the face of the town centre”, are set to go on show to members of the public this week.

The latest proposals for the huge redevelopment project, which will have a large department store and cinema at its heart, will be displayed at an exhibition running in Barnsley town centre from next Thursday, May 12, to Saturday, May 14.

A spokesman for the 1249 Regeneration Project – the organisation behind the regeneration scheme – said that people will be able to find out more about the project, speak to those involved and give their own views on the proposals during the three-day exhibition.

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He added: “Barnsley town centre is being transformed with a major retail-led development, putting quality shopping and leisure at the heart of Barnsley along with a new markets complex and outdoor public spaces.

“The development will also feature an anchor department store and six-screen multiplex cinema with excellent links to the transport interchange and new car parking.

“The public exhibition, featuring models and computer generated images of the scheme, will take place in a retail unit on May Day Green in Barnsley town centre.”

When the plans were first mooted, it was originally hoped that the new retail and markets development would be completed by autumn 2009.

However, the recession impacted heavily on the scheme and resulted in long delays – meaning that the markets could now open up to six years later than first anticipated.

It is now hoped that a planning application will be submitted by the developer to Barnsley Council next month, with the hope of building work beginning next summer subject to that application being approved.

The multi-million-pound project could then be completed at some point in 2015.

The director of the 1249 Regeneration Partnership, Tony Baker, said: “The Barnsley markets project is a chance to provide new facilities that enhance the vibrancy of the town centre.

“The current retail offer will be expanded significantly through the creation of additional high-quality retail units that will attract leading names to Barnsley and provide more choice for shoppers.

“This innovative development will change the face of Barnsley town centre.

“It is crucial for the success of the town that the market and retail heart is developed so that it continues to be a vibrant and economically important part of the town.”

Barnsley market dates back more than seven centuries and currently has more than 300 stalls, selling a variety of produce from fresh fruit and vegetables to home appliances.

Criticism of the redevelopment scheme has come from second-hand traders who currently hold stalls on the market.

They have been told that there will be no room for their stalls once the new-look market is completed.

It is currently not clear where both the second-hand market, which takes place on Tuesdays, and the weekly car boot sale will be held once the redevelopment is completed.

Mahmood Azam, head of Remaking Barnsley, welcomed the project’s move forward.

He said: “We have worked hard with the developers to bring this project forward and we are excited to be presenting the scheme to the public.

“It will revitalise the town centre and provide us with much-needed new facilities for market traders, retailers, residents of Barnsley and visitors to the borough.”

Next week’s public exhibition in May Day Green, opposite the Carphone Warehouse shop, will run from 11am to 7pm on Thursday, and from 10am to 4pm on Friday and Saturday.