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Barnsley Tuscan plans taken off hold

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The first significant phase of Will Alsop's controversial vision to remodel Barnsley along the lines of a Tuscan village is back on track, after a new funding partner was secured for the development.

Developer Wilson Bowden is due to step into the breach and officially sign an agreement to plug the gap filled by the withdrawal of Multiplex in April.

Until very recently the project's future was shrouded in doubt after Multiplex pulled the plug, claiming that is was 'overstretched'.

The addition of Wilson Bowden, a major player in the development world, will reverse a decision to put on hold £225 million plans by CZWG and Holder Mathias to redevelop the market.

This was while development consortium, the 1249 Regeneration Partnership, undertook a desperate search for a last-minute funding partner.

Ian Robertson, chief executive of Wilson Bowden said: 'Barnsley is a major regeneration project, creating a high-quality retail and leisure destination, bringing energy and vibrancy to the town centre.

'It is a true public/private sector partnership and we look forward to working with 1249 Regeneration Partnership to deliver our combined objectives.'

The project will provide 50,000m 2of retail and leisure accommodation and be focused around a 'new and vibrant market hall', according to Wilson Bowden.

by Rob Sharp

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