BARNSLEY Council's partners involved in the £90million redevelopment of the town centre have asked for more time to find funding for the project.

They're involved in negotiations with international funding institutions, ranging from pension funds to banks, to get the investment needed for the long-awaited Barnsley markets project to finally go ahead.

Tony Baker, director of the 1249 Regeneration Partnership in charge of the scheme, said: "There's no question in my mind that Barnsley town centre will be redeveloped.

"However I cannot here and now tell you the timescale involved. The economy is starting to come out of recession and interest in the scheme is higher than ever."

It's understood the partnership could spend up to the end of the year trying to put together a deal which would see the bulldozers finally move in to start the transformation of the town centre.

If that financial backing cannot be found however it's highly likely the first phase of the scheme - the creation of a new market hall - will go ahead anyway.

That will be built off May Day Green on the site of the former County and then Barnsley Council offices. Council leader Sir Steve Houghton says he remains optimistic the funding will be found.

"I'm not saying we will get 100 per cent of the funding and investment we're looking for, and obviously whatever investment packages we're offered will have to be carefully considered.

"But I'm convinced the scheme will go ahead because of the quality of the development, because of the number of businesses already signed up to take units and because all the facts show this redevelopment will attract a lot of customers.

"It's a scheme that will work, that will be sustainable and that will transform the number of visitors to the town."

Cllr Houghton says currently 60 per cent of the disposable income of Barnsley people is spent outside of the borough.

The revised Marketplace Barnsley will create a new market hall, a new central retail core for the town anchored by a Debenhams department store, an Odeon seven-screen cinema, 35 retail and leisure units as well as car parking for shoppers.