No clash with city over developer, says Barnsley chief

Sir Steve Houghton, right, with Simon Carr of Henry Boot
Sir Steve Houghton, right, with Simon Carr of Henry Boot

The leader of Barnsley Council has praised the development firm it hired in March - which has just being signed up by Sheffield.

Sir Steve Houghton said Queensberry Real Estate had drummed up a lot of interest from potential investors in the £100m Better Barnsley town centre scheme. And the three-year programme was on track.

Barnsley Council is putting £50m into the project while Queensberry must find the rest.

In March, the authority signed Henry Boot construction and project management firm Turner and Townsend, along with its partner Queensberry, to form a development management organisation.

Sir Steve said: “It’s going really well, we’ve had a lot of interest from tenants. Investors won’t invest if we don’t get the lettings but so far, so good.”

Queensberry had successfully worked on schemes in Manchester, Belfast and a £100m scheme in Newport, South Wales, which is a similar size and socio-economic demographic to Barnsley, he added.

“That gave us confidence.”

Last week, Sheffield City Council announced it had hired Queensberry to develop its £480m retail quarter scheme.

But Sir Steve said he didn’t foresee competition over investment funds.

He added: “The new retail quarter is massively bigger while in Barnsley the council is putting money in and the scheme is more advanced. If anything the two schemes complement each other.”

Mr Houghton said Barnsley would also bid for cash for town centres under the devolution deal.