Barnsley reveals plan to become 'the best town in Yorkshire' by improving 'shabby and unsafe' streets

Barnsley Council’s cabinet is set to approve a new town plan, which aims to get more people working, living and spending money in the town centre.

The council has set out bold ambitions to transform Barnsley into a” 21st- century market town”, “the best town in Yorkshire; to live, learn, work, relax and be safe, happy and healthy”.

A 16-page report has been drawn up, which identifies issues preventing people from using the town centre, and sets out plans to tackle them.

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Barnsley town centre

Several problems have been identified, such as not enough people working or living in the town centre, not enough people with disposable income using the town centre, and the effects of the pandemic on retail.

In order to make the town centre “inclusive and welcoming”, the council hopes to tackle “entrenched antisocial behaviour” with public space protection orders, and targeted operations and “legal interventions” against perpetrators.

“Shabbier” outlying areas of the town centre “reinforces poor perception, which in turn encourages poor behaviour,” states the report.

It adds that this contributes to “the continued negative online narrative which accompanies posts relating to the development of the town centre and other positive activities.”

“Perceptions of safety within the town centre remain poor,” adds the report, which states that the “introduction of initiatives such as smoke free zones and active travel areas are raising aspirations and challenging the “norm”.”

“Our town centre needs to look visually amazing, “continually current” and inspiring - all areas need to be clean and well-kept to further enhance that overall perception and contribute to civic pride,” it adds.

Coun Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “Our town centre has been improved so much with the investment in the Glass Works and the wider street scene.

“We want to do more. If we stand still, the borough’s economy will stand still. Our borough will have better homes, jobs, services and transport links, and this plan makes sure everything we do in our town centre is moving us in the right direction.

“The completion of the Glass Works is more of a beginning than an ending. We want to keep adding more and more reasons for people to be in town, making it a great place to live, learn and do business.”