A distinctly grey and autumnal update on the Barnsley Glass Works project and there has been quite a lot of progress on the site in the six weeks since I last blogged about it. I’ve also managed to dig up a copy of the plans (below) from the latest amendments to planning application.
Continued groundworks at the West Kendray Street entrance to the Bowling Ally site. In the background you can see two stories of steelwork above the new substation.
Bowling Ally steelwork (taken from the Kendray Street/Midland Street junction). The breeze block structure is the new substation constructed over the summer.
The body of the project as seen from the West end of Kendray Street. The mass of steelwork for the cinema (left) and new car park (rear) has increased substantially.
The new shops on the South side of the public square have started to receive their insulation. Behind the steel of the new car park looms.
Insulation installed on the shops that will be under the covered arcade.
In the foreground you can see additional steel beams for either the cinema, the pedestrian concourse or the arcade roof. To the rear is the row of shops that backs onto phase one’s market building.
What will become the cinema. The large gap between the current steel work and the white van will also become part of the cinema’s footprint.
Work vehicles on the east of the public square. Approximately where the red stop sign is will be where the town side of the new railway footbridge will end.
Steelwork as seen from Cheapside. In the immediate foreground Very little has changed however the frame for the carpark now looms in the background.
The project as seen from the railway footbridge.
A shot from part up Cheapside hill. The frames of both the carpark and the shops backing onto the railway can quite clearly now be seen.
A street level perspective on the new car park.
However, from the Cheapside/Queen Street/May Day Green junction the new construction is not yet visible.
Work seems to be progressing at quite a rate and – allowing for the trials of winter construction – it’s likely that by next summer the majority of the project will be heading towards completion. Then – inevitably – Barnsley’s centre of gravity will shift towards the new shopping arcade and away from the Alhambra Centre.
The question then becomes ‘What happens to the tatty, tired Alhambra Centre?’. It’s unlikely that a town with Barnsley’s size and economy can support two shopping precincts (especially next door to each other!) and so the older one is likely to fade away. Could it be knocked down and replaced? The Alhambra Centre plot is well situated for bus, road, and rail access and so the site could make a good location for future office space – and so bring important white collar employment to the town that a place like Barnsley has traditionally lacked.
But bringing a new employer like that into a region is tricky work and the competition from other local authorities would be tremendously fierce…