A £100,000 funding bid has been submitted to the government to transform Barnsley Arcade into a hub for independent shops.

The shops in and around the Victorian arcade - which include the George Yard area - are at the centre of a bid for the second round of funding from the Portas Pilot scheme, the brainchild of retail guru Mary Portas. If the bid is successful, the cash would be used to attract new independent traders by offering lower cost shop units and creating a shared retail space where people can test out their business idea.

It would also go towards specialist markets with £10 stall fees and pay for street entertainers to encourage people to linger longer. The final plan would see improvements to the shop fronts and signage and a cheap unit for college students to sell their wares.

Council spokesman Coun Linda Burgess said: "This is an imaginative and carefully assembled bid which will re-energise The Lanes and George Yard as a dynamic and sustainable shopping area. “We see this project as fundamental in developing a specialist, independent retail area which will complement the retail offer provided by some of the larger businesses in the central markets and pedestrian precinct areas. “It’s a hidden treasure of the town, although in recent times it has suffered in the existing economic climate.”