9th September marked the opening of the next phase of The Glass Works – Queensberry and Barnsley Council’s transformative town centre regeneration scheme.

A small ceremony was held to recognise the opening of the new town square and stores operated by Next, USC, Sports Direct and TK Maxx. The landscaped square (the size of a football pitch), is the focal point of TGW connecting the new public library to Barnsley Markets, new restaurants and leisure uses and the existing high street. Over 10,000 residents a day watched a packed weekend events programme that accompanied the opening.

The £200 million investment is part a council-led plan to regenerate the town centre and re-establish its regional role as a vibrant centre. It is a shining example of the importance of collaboration between a Local Authority with more autonomy, access to land, and sources of funding, alongside the knowledge and experience of a well-established development manager, to deliver assets that boost the local economy. TGW will be launched in a series of mini phases over the next six months to accommodate tenants preferred timings and business models due to pandemic related challenges.

Paul Sargent, Chief Executive, Queensberry said:

“It’s been a challenging time in which to develop and deliver TGW but we have overcome all obstacles to get to a fantastic conclusion. Our last key decision earlier this year was to open in a series of ‘small’ phases over 6 months. Like this we don’t disadvantage the brands that were ready to trade, while brands that required a little more time to organise themselves due to the impact of Covid 19 don’t feel additional pressure from us. Everyone consulted was happy to adopt this collaborative approach.”

The Fragrance Shop and Flannels are anticipated to be next with Superbowl UK, Nando’s, TGI’s and Cineworld to follow thereafter. The opening comes as new figures from Centre for Cities suggest Barnsley town centre’s recovery from the pandemic is amongst the strongest in the country, with an 18 percent increase in footfall between July and August. The town has now reached 87% of pre pandemic levels of footfall, which compares to the national average of 77%.

The opening was fully supported by the public with large crowds gathering, early morning, to listen to The Mayor of Barnsley Cllr Caroline Makinson and Dan Jarvis, MP and Mayor of the Combined Authority praising the development. By 10am large queues had gathered outside the new stores for their anticipated opening!