What is the Towns Fund?
It was launched by the government in September 2019 in recognition that many towns had missed investment which was directed to cities. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) invited selected towns in England, which included Goldthorpe, to develop proposals for a ‘Town Deal’ which forms part of a £3.6 billion Towns Fund. The funding government department is now called Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
Designed as a five-year programme, the Towns Fund is an opportunity to bid for up to £25 million by developing a town investment plan with project proposals that “should drive long term economic and productivity growth through investment in connectivity, land use, economic assets including cultural assets, skills and enterprise infrastructure.” Only proposals that fall within the scope of the above statement will be considered and are intended to promote the long term sustainable economic growth of the town.
To find out more about the purpose, objectives and conditions around the Towns Fund, please see the prospectus and guidance.
They also published their own Towns Fund FAQs document regarding their guidance.
How has the Towns Fund board engaged or consulted with the local community?
The structure of the board means they already have good communication connections locally and, make use of the offer of Barnsley Council to utilise their social media and host a webpage with which to pass on news and updates.
Under the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, specific Towns Fund consultation took place over a 17 day period (Friday 28 August to 13 September 2020) where we wanted to assess the level of support for the four proposed Towns Fund themes of growing, connecting, developing and placemaking that projects were going to be developed around.
The event was advertised by a quarter page advert in the Barnsley Chronicle, a 10-day advert Monday to Friday on Dearne FM (30 seconds, six times a day), direct email/phone contact to target groups by customer engagement and area council teams, plus our social media (Facebook/Twitter).
Under normal circumstances there would have been face-to-face consultation held in local venues, but this option was not available to us due to COVID-19 restrictions. Consultation took place online and the board were aware it may be a barrier to engaging with some members of the community. To counteract this the Barnsley Council contact centre volunteered to act as intermediary and take telephone calls, during which operators would talk through material with the customer, or their intermediary, and record the response to any questions or options contained in the consultation.
You can become involved and share your views at any time. You can contribute to the social media exchanges on Twitter for Goldthorpe #TownsFund #TheDearne, give your view at the Barnsley Council Facebook site or email us at email@example.com.
How were the Towns Fund themes and projects decided on?
These Towns Fund themes and projects were based on evidence from a wealth of past consultation and engagement, and more recently:
- The community-led enterprise The Dearne approach group annually review community needs and priorities; these remain constant and the top 4 are: environment, health, housing and jobs (employability).
- Dearne Integrated Well-Being Team community consultations targeted under 18s and those of working age in summer 2019 and included questions to help us understand what residents loved about the area they lived, and also what they would like to see improved.
- DLUHC (formerly MHCLG) developed an online communication and community engagement portal called #MyTown. This portal gives the local community a chance to have their say in how a Town Deal should transform the place they call home.
#MyTown summary of comments by theme 2 February to 4 August 2020
|Theme||Number of comments|
|ASB, CCTV and crime||19|
|Employment opportunities and skills training||7|
|Recreational activity opportunities||14|
Towns Fund themes and project areas used in the summer 2020 consultation:
|Growing||In 2019, Dearne residents said that they were concerned that there were very few employment opportunities in the area, and also that there was a lack of good quality affordable homes available. Would you agree that we should develop projects under 'Growing' to facilitate more employment opportunities and improve the choice and quality of housing
available in the areas?
|Connecting||In 2019, residents said that transport links could be improved.
Would you agree that we should develop projects under 'Connecting' to help improve links to public transport, and facilitate active travel in and around the Dearne?
|Developing||In 2019, residents said that they were concerned that there weren’t many social amenities and that recreation opportunities should be increased. Would you agree that we should develop projects under the ‘Developing’ theme to help develop more community and social amenities?||93%||7%|
|Place-making||In 2019, residents said that some areas within the villages had become neglected/untidy and overgrown.
They were also concerned about graffiti and vandalism. Would you agree that we should develop projects under the 'Placemaking' theme to improve the environment in the Dearne villages to create a sense of a place that is well kept and cared for?
Results based on 240 responses (excluding one spoilt questionnaire)
When will Goldthorpe receive the Towns Fund money and what can it be spent on?
The Towns Fund scheme is set to run for five years and because it is based around a number of projects that will progress at different rates, we will not receive all the funding at the same time. All projects have a maximum of 12 months to develop and approve a business case and submit a summary document to DLUHC, it is then that the funding will be released. See Towns Fund timeline below, this assumes all business cases take up to a year.
- Agree to heads of terms from MHCLG: March 2021
- Submit project confirmation to MHCLG: April - May 2021
- Develop and approve individual project business cases: April 2021 - April 2022
- Submit project summary to MHCLG (now DLUHC): April 2022
- Funding release and project implementation: May 2022 - 2026
The Towns Fund is primarily a capital fund, for example, it could be used to build roads or buildings and to invest in property, but not to run services, which is known as revenue.
The Towns Fund also requires that the capital fund is spent on certain types of projects (known as an intervention) that can help generate local economic growth while also following clean growth principles: “Investment from this fund should support clean growth where possible and, as a minimum, must not conflict with the achievement of the UK’s legal commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.”; see below:
|Intervention theme||Intervention examples|
|Urban regeneration, planning and land use||
|Arts, culture and heritage||
Clean growth examples: Infrastructure that reduces emissions from industrial
Up to four or five years is a long time to wait to see things happen in Goldthorpe; will there be anything sooner?
Some projects will naturally take longer than others due to their complexity, but you may see completed projects within 2-3 years. However, the Towns Fund has already provided £500,000 of additional funding to kick-start activity and these have already made a noticeable change to the Goldthorpe landscape. Known as ‘accelerated projects’ these early initiatives assisted regeneration, growth, and improvements to the environment, including projects which will increase walking and cycling.
- Phoenix Park: upgrade of a north south footpath into a multi-user route creating a dedicated/segregated cycle lane with LED solar lighting. Three new rest points, welcome signage and orientation maps. This work has now been completed. Spring 2022
- Creation of Tiny Forest at Brickyard Ponds: Barnsley declared a climate emergency in 2019 and are committed to be net zero carbon by 2045. Planting a Tiny Forest (a dense, native woodland and the first in South Yorkshire) will help mitigate the effect of climate change, support urban wildlife and reconnect people with nature. It will be a great educational resource for local school children and the community, over the next 2 years several community events will take place where you can learn about the forest, to get involved visit the official Earthwatch website. Planting took place in late March 2021.
- Goldthorpe Market: strategic demolition and reclamation, to facilitate a housing growth opportunity. Spring 2021.
- The high street: acquisition, demolition and remediation of the Horse and Groom to enable the creation of a high-quality public square and new site for the relocated market. The demolition of the former public house was completed in 2021 and a procurement process is underway for the new public square. Spring 2022.
- Embankment Green Space: Further transformation to the disused railway line into a community use and green space through resurfacing of footpaths, handrails, resurfacing walls for murals, natural surveillance, plants, shrubs and trees. This work has now been completed. Spring 2022.
Which community groups are involved in the project development/delivery and are there any new community groups to be set up?
A Towns Fund board has also been established made up of community representatives, local businesses and councillors and other regional tiers of local government with an interest in the future development of Goldthorpe.
The board meet six weekly, or as required, to discuss the development and progress of the Town Investment Plan. Find out more about the board membership, meeting agendas and minutes online.
Details of specific groups in the area are also detailed in the question below.
The Towns Fund can’t tackle all the community’s needs; what else is happening in Goldthorpe?
The Towns Fund £23.1m offer for Goldthorpe may seem like a lot of money, but it can only be spent on certain types of projects and can’t deliver everything that everyone wants. Other groups and public bodies are working and investing in Goldthorpe to deliver a variety of improvements and services; here are a few examples:
Big Local Goldthorpe and Bolton upon Dearne
The aim is to create a better community and their priorities are:
- Good education and training prospects
- Quality and affordable homes to live in
- Improved local facilities
- A supportive and actively involved community
Barnsley Safer Neighbourhood teams
Made up of police officers, police community support officers (PCSOs), special constables, council officers, volunteers and partners to police communities and respond to neighbourhood issues, such as anti-social behaviour.
- Give you access to local policing services through a named point of contact.
- Give you influence over policing priorities in your neighbourhood.
- Feedback to residents on what's being done in response to local issues.
- Find out what issues matter to residents in their neighbourhood.
- Work with partners and local people to agree on what action should be taken to deal with those priorities
New CCTV cameras have recently been installed on Barnsley Road/Doncaster Road, Goldthorpe and the system has been developed so it can be built on in the future. For example, we have recently added a camera to the system at the community environmental embankment project and installed CCTV to stop anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.
Further to this, we have also recently secured six further re-deployable cameras that will be installed at locations across the Dearne as and when required based on reported incidents.
All of the cameras installed provide broadcast quality high definition images so the identification of offenders both during incidents and when reviewing footage is made much easier based on the increased image quality.
Facilities and services for young people
I KNOW I CAN; IKIC Barnsley (sometimes known as the Dearne Youth Centre) is a project to build confidence, create dreams and aspirations; raise qualification levels, strengthen life skills using help and support and take ownership to develop a real ‘I Know I Can’ attitude. There is an IKIC centre at Goldthorpe Green.
Astrea Academy Dearne: Although COVID-19 has meant altering the programme, the school offers a great range of extra-curricular activities including those around sports and physical health, wellbeing and mental health, creativity and the arts and many more.
There are active scout and guide groups in Goldthorpe.
The Dearne and district football club is a community football club based in Goldthorpe and has members from around the Dearne Valley area. The junior teams (boys and girls) play at pitches at the Dearne Cricket Club, welfare and recreation ground. There is also a new community building on site.
Dearne area council
The Dearne area council is responsible for developing plans to improve services for local people and reviewing the way in which services are delivered at local level. Current priorities are:
- Improving health and well-being
- Young people
- Local economy
- Skills for work
Dearne area team and the Dearne approach
Established in 2013, the Dearne approach is a collective of residents, community groups, businesses and local area delivery partners working together to tackle and address community issues. Find out more about the Dearne approach.
Our Principal Towns and Local Village Centres investment programme to improve local economies around the borough and help our high streets thrive. Find out more about Principal towns.
Are there any volunteering opportunities created via the new projects? How would residents get involved if they wanted to?
When work begins on the individual projects links for any volunteering opportunities will be added to the website.
Where can I find out more information about residents kick-starting their own projects?
While the Towns Funding isn’t available to use in this way, you can check the Dearne area council’s information to see if there are currently any opportunities for this. Find out more about community and volunteering.
How are you going to communicate all of the Towns Fund info to residents who are digitally excluded?
- Press releases are issued to local media for any important updates
- We hold Towns Fund board meetings to keep members and local representatives up to date for their interactions with the community.
- Local sculptor Dan Jones has also been undertaking consultations with residents utilising ARG funding, including a weekly session with pupils at Carrfield Primary School and a pop-up opportunity on the former Horse and Groom site
- Leaflets and a pop-up banner is displayed in Goldthorpe Library to show that Towns Funds have been awarded and provide high level information including the accelerated projects
- See individual projects section on the homepage for any specific engagement plans in the pipeline
Will you be providing a breakdown of how the £23.1m is split between all the projects?
Once all the procurement/tender exercises for the projects are completed with contractors appointed we will be in a position to publish this information, but until this time the exact amounts are commercially sensitive.
Will Bolton upon Dearne and Thurnscoe benefit from the £23.1 million that has been allocated to Goldthorpe?
Although the funding has been allocated to Goldthorpe, the town investment plan recognises how close Bolton upon Dearne and Thurnscoe are to this area. The projects naturally have some cross over into the surrounding areas due to the location of the projects and it is also recognised that the benefits of this investment will positively affect both Goldthorpe and the surrounding areas.
As an example of the wider benefits, in the employment site project, investment will spend directly in the Goldthorpe area, however it will also create positive employment opportunities for residents who live in the nearby villages. The advantages of creating new and additional jobs provides more choice and opportunity for local households to potentially feel the benefit from an improved quality of living.
The Cultural and Community Hub is very close to Bolton upon Dearne, and the leisure facilities at Phoenix Park are partly located in Thurnscoe. Residents from all 3 of these areas will therefore benefit from the improvements made at these sites.
What's happening to the old Horse and Groom site?
The site is where we plan to create a new public plaza and events area. It will be a central point for community activity and temporary public uses like market stalls and pop-up events. Public consultation has been carried out and further engagement with local people is continuing to help shape this new landmark space right at the heart of Goldthorpe.
Before work starts on this new square, we’re bringing back Goldthorpe market on a weekly basis. From 13 June until December, there will be stalls every Monday, 9am to 3pm. This will include a wide selection of goods, including everyday essentials, second-hand items, local artists and makers. If you are a trader and are interested in a stall, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01226) 772239.
How much does it cost us to deliver the projects?
Administering and managing the Towns Funds is contained within the £23.1 million allocation.
Will we need to fund project overspends?
Each of the projects has a financial allocation from the Towns Fund. As plans develop and realistic costs and estimates are received, the projects will be shaped to ensure that they remain within the allocation they have been given.
When will all the projects be complete?
All the projects will be physically delivered by 31 March 2025 as per the funding criteria, but the long term benefits for the community will continue beyond the funding stream.
How will the local community receive updates on project progress?
The town's board has local council members, local resident and business representatives as well as key links into the Dearne area groups.
Individual projects will make plans to consult and engage with the community at key points in the projects and details of these will be shown on the Towns Fund Goldthorpe website.
Key milestone information and messages are shared on Barnsley Council's and Dearne area team’s social media pages. You can also see social media exchanges on Twitter for Goldthorpe #TownsFund #The Dearne
You can also email email@example.com and ask us to add you to our mailing list to receive updates about consultations, events and project milestones.
Are there any further opportunities for involvement in shaping the projects?
Projects will be developed to deliver the outputs and outcomes that the funding has been agreed for. The town's board will be provided with regular updates on the progress and planning for each one. Where a project has an opportunity for further engagement and/or consultation with the public then these will be promoted on the website and through social media.
I have a question that isn’t answered on your site, how can I get in touch?
Please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I find out more about the individual projects?
Each project has its own section of the website and their specific FAQs can be accessed via the Towns Fund Goldthorpe website.
What's the idea behind Goldthorpe Housing Project (GHP)?
We've commissioned a regeneration specialist, Arcadis, to look at what measures could improve the area. We want to increase the health and wellbeing of residents on the following streets in Goldthorpe: Co-operative Street, Victoria Street, Cross Street, Beever Street and Claycliffe Terrace.
Arcadis produced the 'Goldthorpe Housing Strategy'. This sets out high-level regeneration measures that could benefit the area. This includes:
- reducing the number of empty properties
- improving safety with less anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and crime
- creating local jobs, including construction and maintenance roles
- improving residents' wellbeing and physical/mental health through the creation of:
- public spaces for people to exercise, to get together socially and for informal play
- links to the winder area to make active travel easier (eg walking, cycling, scooting or using a wheelchair)
What public consultation was carried out and what was the outcome?
Public consultation was carried out in May 2022 via an online survey. Paper copy surveys and four face-to-face exhibitions sessions were held at Goldthorpe Library. Home visits were also made on request.
The survey had a 23.5% response rate. The survey results along with written comments received are being used. These will influence and shape the development of the final proposals for the regeneration of the ‘Goldthorpe Housing Project’ area.
View an analysis of the results of the consultation.
The public consultation was carried out on the following regeneration proposals:
- The acquisition and demolition of up to 40 properties on Cooperative and Victoria Street.
- Up to 11 new build low-carbon affordable homes to be let and managed by Berneslai Homes.
- Shared space streets.
- New greenspace connecting Market Street and Victoria Street.
- Secured by design rear boundary improvements.
- Improvements to rear alleyways.
- Secured by design external cycle storage facilities.
What's the timetable for the Goldthorpe Housing Project?
In Spring 2023 approval will be sought to progress with the development phase of the GHP scheme design. Final details will be sent for approval in early 2024. Work is proposed to start on site in 2024 and completing in spring 2025. These dates are indicative only and may be subject to change.
What streets are in the Goldthorpe Housing Project area?
Co-operative Street, Victoria Street, Cross Street, Beever Street and Claycliffe Terrace.
How do I contact the Goldthorpe Housing Project team?
- email: email@example.com
- call: (01226) 772205
- write to:
Goldthorpe Housing Project,
Strategic Housing and Growth Team,
PO Box 634,
Will I get compensation if my property is demolished?
If demolition is the preferred option, compensation would be based on the eligibility of individual households. It also depends on personal circumstances and what the law states. Each household/landlord affected would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
If my property is going to be demolished, will I get re-housed?
If demolition is the preferred option, We'll give support to residents in accessing compensation and helping with re-housing needs.
How many new houses could be built?
The actual number of new low-carbon affordable homes will be decided once we've reviewed the responses. The responses will be received through the public consultation. We'll also consider survey results as part of this process.
Who will be eligible to apply to live in any of the potential new homes?
All available future vacancies will be advertised on Barnsley Homeseeker. We'll not be taking applications specifically for this scheme. In order to place bids via Homeseeker, you'll need to have a live housing application. If you need help with this, please see the Berneslai Homes website. You can also call (01226) 787878.
Who funds the ongoing maintenance costs of the park?
Phoenix Park is owned by The Land Trust and managed by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV). The maintenance of the park is the responsibility of the land owners.
What is the Phoenix Park project going to deliver?
Improvements have already been made through accelerated funding and include the successful upgrading of a footpath to a multi-user route through the site. Low level ‘bat-friendly’ solar lighting has also been installed along the route.
Longer term plans include improved access and vegetation clearance, installation of rest points and seating, resurfacing of the car park and allocating spaces and dedicated disabled parking bays, improved site information and interpretation at entrances and points of interest.
To enhance the visitor experience and realise the site's potential this funding will enable the creation of a modest all-season secure compound with essential facilities. The hope is that this facility could support regular pop-up catering, monthly community marketplaces for micro businesses, support provision of pre-school and family environmental activities, evening and weekend youth activities could link to the workshop space, aspirational social enterprise approach to creating a woodland products processing facility.
Will there be further opportunities for the community to input on what changes they want to see at Phoenix park?
There will be an opportunity to share ideas at the Phoenix Park fun day on 1 June 2022. The Towns Fund project will have a stand there and would love to hear what the community would like to see happen in the park.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to share your thoughts with us.
What events at Phoenix Park are going to be happening?
The Conservation Volunteers manage the site and host a variety of events throughout the year. For upcoming events visit the South Yorkshire Community Woodlands' Facebook page.
Community and Cultural Hub
What is the Community and Cultural Hub?
The Community and Cultural Hub consists of the Dearne Playhouse and Welfare Park. It will become part of a network of cultural facilities across Barnsley offering arts and entertainment opportunities for residents and visitors to the area.
How are you making sure that the community are involved in the plans?
We have worked with community groups, young people and undertaken public consultation exercises to help shape our plans. We will continue to consult and engage through public events and focused work groups. We have two project sponsors who are part of the local community who we report to regularly and we work closely with the Dearne area team to ensure we are engaging with residents and representative groups.
What types of improvements are being made and what new facilities will be on offer?
Much of the refurbishment of the Playhouse itself is to repair damage caused by water ingress and flooding. As this is a council-owned building we need to ensure that it is in good condition for generations to come. We are taking advice from industry specialists on the kind of equipment and facilities we need to make it a facility that offers all kinds of experiences and engagement for the community such as a digitally equipped basement space to offer more for different audiences especially young people. Upgraded audio and lighting facilities will enable the Playhouse to widen the types of events they put on.
For Welfare Park we will be improving the lighting, repairing and upgrading paths, walls and steps, and creating a more stable area to allow mobile staging to be used for events. We will be creating better event day parking facilities and an area with seating to make it a better place to meet friends and family. We have secured additional funding to add play equipment to the area around the existing MUGA in response to requests raised during consultation.
What was the work you did with young people on the Community Hub project and how will this continue?
We have worked with the University of Sheffield live projects team to deliver in-depth engagement with young people in the area to help shape our plans for the Playhouse basement and Welfare Park. This has led to further and continued work with the youth centre team and groups. The ideas generated have been shared with the Playhouse team and the town's board as well as internal and external partners. These are ‘live’ plans and will be added to and refined as time goes on.
We are also working with sculptor Dan Jones to look at ideas for Welfare Park (and the Heart of Goldthorpe town square). Dan has led a number of public sessions getting people to draw up their ideas on a giant easel. He continues to work with the youth centre and local primary schools.
Within the funding there is an allocation for further creative support for working with young people over the next two years to ensure we keep our plans on track and relevant to their interests and needs. We have also attracted further funding from the University of Sheffield to work further with young people across the community to listen to their views and stories about where they live.
How are you linking to the Playhouse team on the Community Hub project?
We are working with the Playhouse team on the refurbishment of the building and making sure it has better facilities to enable them to create a new programme of events. This will include better, smaller spaces in the basement that can be used when the main auditorium isn’t the best space eg for community cinema events or small exhibitions.
We will be working with the board of trustees to make sure they have the support they need to expand the Playhouse programme. We will be linking the management team in with the other cultural hubs across the borough to enable more events to be co-produced and shared.
Heart of Goldthorpe
Who will maintain the new public space created?
This will be agreed and developed once the plans for the site are agreed.
What are the public realm improvements planned and what is meant by ‘wayfinding’ being a part of this?
Improvements to the physical appearance of certain areas on the high street, specifically the site where the old Horse and Groom pub stood.
There is CCTV installed which covers the site, to hopefully deter anti-social behaviour.
Wayfinding will be a trail (the specifics are to be determined) that will explore and take people to different areas of interest (Phoenix Park, Dearne Playhouse, etc)
How will active travel links be a part of this project?
This project will be improving certain areas of the high street to make for an easier and improved pedestrian/cycle experience.
What disruption will there be to the existing roads while the new access/roundabout scheme and construction works to the employment site located off the A635 Barnsley Road, Goldthorpe are being undertaken? How long will any disruption be?
To ensure that these works are delivered safely temporary traffic management will be necessary. Some evening and early morning work will be required, and because of the nature of the works there may be a requirement for temporary road closures. This would always be kept to an absolute minimum. Advance notification of any closures will be provided, by provision of on-site signage. There will also be notifications, should road closures be required and the information will be provided on our website and through our social media channels.
Every effort will be made to minimise any disruption and we apologise for any inconvenience caused during the works. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience while we carry out this important scheme of works.
The new access/roundabout scheme works are likely to be completed by March 2023.
Find out more about traffic management.
How will you encourage the new businesses to employ local people?
During the construction phase, we will work in partnership with the private developer/main contractors to facilitate new local jobs and training opportunities.
Enterprising Barnsley will work with future occupiers of the developments and provide co-ordinated recruitment and training support. This support will be provided by organisations such as Jobcentre Plus, Barnsley College and our employment and skills team. Introductions to local schools will also be made. The support provided will maximise local job opportunities for local people.
Will there be opportunities for young people and employer talks/introductions?
During the construction phase, we will work in partnership with the private developer/main contractor to facilitate new local job and training opportunities.
When will the new employment units be developed?
Further information will become available as plans are developed.