IT is hoped the ill-fated and unfinished City Reach apartments could be 'up and running' in 15 months.

Coun Doug Birkinshaw said there is 'an end in sight' for the part-built block of flats at the junction of John Street and Burleigh Street following meetings between a representative for the new owners and Barnsley Council.

It's not yet known who has bought the building but Steve Burlaga, who represents the new owners, confirmed he had met with the council's planning department on their behalf to discuss completion of the development.

The concrete skeleton - which was conceived as a striking new addition to the Barnsley skyline when the development was given planning permission almost seven years ago - sold for £375,000 at auction in October.

The structure of the development has been completed and the scheme currently comprises 88, one and two-bedroom flats.

At ground floor level, 10,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space was planned but may now change under the new owners.

"It has become a bit of an eyesore and a a beacon for drug users so to have it finished will tidy up that area and make it better," said Coun Birkinshaw.

"If it's finished it will give us another 80 to 100 homes in the town centre area which has got to be good prosperity for the town.

"All I can really say at this point is if the owners get what they want it could be up and running in 15 months."