The Glass Works, UK

Revitalising the town centre and improving the local economy of an historic Yorkshire town.

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s (BMBC) vision for The Glass Works is to create an inclusive, accessible, and attractive town centre in which families and individuals of all generations can reconnect and socialise. By rejuvenating the main square and introducing new leisure and retail facilities, the project is driving the town’s economic growth and reputation, together with boosting residents’ wellbeing and civic pride.

Key information

Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date started:
Completion date:
Client type:
Real estate
Main services:
Project management, cost, and commercial management

A new social hub

The Glass Works is the second phase in BMBC’s ‘Better Barnsley’ programme. Totalling 268,000 sq. ft, the ambitious project incorporates a public square with flexible space for events, a 13-screen cinema, a multi-storey car park, and restaurant, retail, and leisure destinations.

Reflecting BMBC’s community-focused approach, and building on the town’s heritage, the 1960s Barnsley Markets’ stalls were maintained as the centre’s core. The integrated, new Library @ the Lightbox offers an innovative and fully accessible library complete with wellbeing facilities for those living with dementia and autism, an interactive training suite and a multi-purpose events space.

Best-in-class supply chain

Our team, based almost entirely in South Yorkshire, was appointed as the development management organisation to provide development, project, cost and commercial management services throughout design and delivery. We assembled a best-in-class supply chain to deliver the scheme including multidisciplinary design and various specialist services, for example leasing, asset management setup, communications, planning consultancy and marketing, collaborating with partners across design, legal, planning and communications to attract the investment needed.

We also provided assurance services to BMBC’s finance department for the wider programme of works across the town centre, including a new footbridge over the main railway to improve access and a major sewer diversion.

Building back from the pandemic

The Glass Works is now providing the local economy with a much-needed boost following COVID-19, with 90 percent of the development let by April 2022 – bucking the trend seen across similar UK schemes.

During September 2021, following the centre’s completion, footfall soared to above pre-pandemic levels, with 4.3 million people visiting since opening on 11 September 2021 to June 2022, placing Barnsley second in the Centre for Cities Town Centre footfall index.

Through the construction of a first-of-its-kind NHS community diagnostic centre, in collaboration with Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the project will also help to support the community’s healthcare system. The centre will help to tackle the backlog of appointments and treatment caused by the pandemic.

Kathy McArdle, Service Director Regeneration and Culture, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council:

There is a strong degree of creativity in Turner & Townsend’s team - they are excellent at working with us to find solutions to problems. They are always open to continuous improvement and have worked hard to understand the culture and working practices of BMBC, working with the grain of our organisation.

"As people and leaders, they have shown drive, an ability to motivate people, strong management of the construction partner, the ability to build positive relationships and to help make things happen and maintain momentum.”

For further information contact:

Nick Jones.JPG

Nick Jones

t: +44 (0) 7944 935 175