Early lettings boost confidence in new shopping and leisure scheme

One of the only shopping and leisure destinations under construction in the UK is now 60% full let, a year in advance of its opening date.

The Glass Works development in Barnsley town centre is part of a council-led plan to regenerate the town and will feature up to 25 new shops, seven new family restaurants, a Superbowl UK featuring a bowling alley, Laser Quest experience and soft play centre, and a 13 screen Cineworld cinema featuring large-scale 4DX screen.

Deichmann is the latest store to sign up to the scheme.

A new public square with an attractive water feature and a multi-story car park also form part of the development, with several big name brands already signed up including Next, Sports Direct alongside fashion arm USC, TK Maxx, Muffin Break, local independent restaurant MEET and Nando’s.

JD Sports, Coffee Boy and Falco Lounge are already open and trading.

This is part of Barnsley Council’s long-term aim to revitalise Barnsley town centre, with phase one already completed.

It has seen the opening of a refurbished market, state-of-the-art Library @ the Lightbox and Market Kitchen and improved public realm.

Councillor Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: “The fact we are a year away from opening – despite challenging economic times – is testament to the strength of this game-changing scheme that will have a hugely positive impact on our local economy and the lives of people right across Barnsley.

“There’s a huge amount of confidence in The Glass Works – not least due to the new lettings we have recently secured for the centre, on top of the big names already signed up, and we’re committed to delivering the scheme now more than ever.

“This is not just another shopping centre, it’s something much more ambitious, especially given the mix between leisure and shopping.

“We firmly believe the flexibility of the scheme is what the high street needs, what Barnsley needs and can complement and strengthen the rest of the town centre.

“It’s important that our whole town centre is included in our development plans. The aim is to offer people even more reasons to come to Barnsley as a whole and tap into those major markets that aren’t currently visiting.

“Investing approximately £200m into our town centre means we’re creating a thriving, bustling, family-friendly high street that people can visit at any time, day or night.

“Even though there’s no escaping that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, which may impact the overall cost of the scheme as we move forward, we’re committed now more than ever to The Glass Works and our town centre regeneration.”

Paul Sargent, chief executive, Queensberry: “The important role our regional towns and cities play has become more apparent than ever in the last year – particularly during the lock-down period.

“The Centre for Cities research has demonstrated the benefits of the proactive approach our partners at Barnsley Metropolitan Council has taken.

“The investment to deliver The Glass Works has helped to position the town as a perfect example of a thriving regional hub – to be 60% let at this stage in the development cycle, considering the wider economic back drop, is really positive.

“The strength of the occupier interest is down to the fact that The Glass Works is more than just a shopping centre – it offers ease of access, a sense of community, facilities for independent traders alongside established national brands, the historic market, cultural and leisure uses and access to open space.”

Once completed The Glass Works will cover around 3.8 hectares.

The name reflects Barnsley’s heritage as a home for glass manufacturing, which made a major contribution to the town’s economy in the past.