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Council consider £2 million property investment

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Thursday 22nd May 2014

BARNSLEY Council will look at putting £2million in to a property investment fund to stimulate the development of commercial sites and attract new businesses to the borough.


The recommendation was made by an economic growth watchdog, led by councillors, which looked into creating the right conditions for growing the town's economy and prosperity.


It focused on the development of sites earmarked for commerical use, or those likely to be designated as such in future through the Local Plan.


The group, led by Coun Paul Hand-Davis, considered three options to try and kick start development.


The favoured option was setting up a property investment fund, which would be used as a grant funding pot to provide assistance to developers.


Coun Hand-Davis said: "Our main recommendation is that we establish a property investment fund to kick start activity."


He explained how a fund of £2 million could generate up to 100,000 square feet of commercial property space and this should provide a good 'litmus test' to see what is needed to bring forward speculative schemes.


The report says the £2m could be allocated from the economic strategy investment budget but this would require formal approval by the council's ruling cabinet.

 

Coun Hand-Davis told cabinet members that development of brownfield sites is always preferred, however, some former coalfield sites are in poor locations for present day commercial developments, being some distance from good transport links and some cases they can only be accessed through residential areas.


He said: "Businesses like to move in to ready erected properties and structures and set up and start working rather than developing brownfield sites."