Leader of Barnsley Council, Sir Steve Houghton CBE, said: “Firstly, this research is an inaccurate desktop exercise that is false and doesn’t use a recognised methodology.
“We measure vacant properties using industry-standard Springboard data, regardless of population size or other non-standard proxy measures. The Springboard data shows an entirely different story.
“Barnsley town centre is busy and thriving. Footfall has risen 30.2% over the past three months, compared to the same period in 2019. Our reputation as a retail and leisure destination continues to grow, outperforming comparable towns and cities. The Glass Works is 83% occupied, which will increase to 89% by the end of the year, as many more brands are interested in coming to Barnsley.
“October 2022 data shows the number of true vacant properties in Barnsley town centre as 15% - an improvement on 15.6% in October 2021. This is just below the North East and Yorkshire average of 13.5%. It’s also important to consider our town centre footfall, which shows that people are choosing to visit Barnsley. Last month we had over 500,000 visitors to the town centre and visitor numbers have recovered brilliantly after the pandemic.
“We’ve transformed Barnsley town centre over the last ten years, creating new employment, and driving economic growth. We've also invested £5 million into our six Principal Towns and ten Local Centres to help them thrive, and we’re continuing to make significant investments and attract other funding into our local high streets across the borough.
“If you haven’t visited Barnsley’s high streets in a while, I encourage you to come and experience what we have to offer.”