A LOCAL councillor has hit out at the council after it was revealed they will be spending £400,000 on upgrades to Hoyland town centre.

The redevelopment of the town square saw work undertaken by Barugh Green-based AmcoGiffen – with a contract tendered at £155,000 – over a number of months.

After the work was finished last year, a celebration event was held by Barnsley Council to open the new-look town centre – but residents felt there was very little to celebrate.

Following a visit by local councillors, including the leader Sir Steve Houghton, it was confirmed that more work would take place to rectify some of the issues.

The council have now confirmed their in-house contractors and workforce will undertake the regeneration project at a cost of £400,000 – and it’s expected to take a total of 12 weeks to complete.

The funding has been used from the Principal Towns programme, which Barnsley Council has already used £5m of to improve high streets across the borough.

A further £30m is planned to be spent over the next five years.

The works in Hoyland will include repaving the area, replacing and adding seating, removing the astroturf for planting, installing planters, painting street lighting columns black in the vicinity of the town centre, and introducing electric power points for market stalls.

Further enhancements include painting canopies, relocating litter bin positions, removing the brown abstract artwork, and reinstating anchor points for market stalls, as well as lights to steps and paving.

The council has also acquired the lease to the former Co-op premises fronting the town square and is working with a potential tenant to bring the building back into public use.

Coun Robin Franklin, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “We are confident this programme of works, which are a key part of our regeneration programme, will enhance the centre of Hoyland.

“They are refreshing and brightening up the town square, making it an inviting place to shop, work and visit, and increasing the vibrancy of Hoyland town centre, building upon the initial scheme delivered last year.

“This significant project highlights our ongoing commitment to investing in and improving our high streets and I look forward to seeing the results of our hard work.”

But Coun David White, who represents the Rockingham ward, is rather sceptical.

He said: “In my view the ‘upgrades’ to Hoyland Market Place were seriously flawed right from the start.

“I asked in early meetings before any work started exactly what were the aims and potential outcomes. The answers were vague at best.

“But, beyond constructive criticism, the £150k project went ahead only to be ripped up and attempted again as we are now saying.

“This isn’t an ‘I told you so’ issue, neither is it political or point scoring. It’s about a closed clique that need to accept the failure.

“They need to apologise and listen to people’s views before stampeding ahead with such projects. It’s hard to defend what’s been done.

“Who signed it off? Who inspected the final work?”