Amanda and Joel Dickinson of Rethink moved to Barnsley in the last year.
Nick Hill

Barnsley eyes new economic growth targets following record breaking year

Barnsley’s targets for economic growth were eclipsed in the last twelve months as the town attracted nearly three times more new businesses than expected.

Official figures show property enquiries from companies interested in relocating were up more than 50% on the previous year and led directly to 23 new businesses moving to Barnsley.

As a result, Barnsley achieved its highest level of inward investment in seven years with nearly 805,000 square foot of additional commercial space taken and £32m worth of private sector investment in premises, equipment and machinery.

This rise of new employers into the borough, combined with the growth of hundreds of existing businesses and the creation of 121 startups, means Barnsley gained 1,385 new private sector jobs in the last 12 months.

Enterprising Barnsley, the economic development arm of Barnsley Council, which provides specialist support to businesses with growth potential, now aims to repeat that performance and help create an additional 1,300 private sector jobs in 2016/17.

Matt Gladstone, who heads up Enterprising Barnsley as part of Barnsley Council, said: “We are proud to have worked in partnership with so many new and existing Barnsley businesses who through hard work, innovation and ambition have invested in growth and created jobs in the last 12 months.

“We’re particularly pleased to have attracted so many new companies to the borough. It’s good to see that national and international businesses looking for somewhere to grow are liking what they see in Barnsley.

“We’re in a great location at the heart of the Sheffield City Region and there has been significant investment in new business parks and infrastructure in recent years. On top of that we offer award-winning business support to help with relocation, recruitment, access to finance and other business matters.

“That package is proving attractive and we look forward to working with more new and established Barnsley businesses to expand the local economy further this year.”

Companies which have moved to Barnsley in the last year include cross-media marketing specialists Rethink CMYK, which invested £500k in its new digital print and production workspace at Shortwood Business Park in Hoyland and aim to create seven new skilled jobs this year.

Specialist machinery supplier MOBA, which has moved its national HQ to Park Springs industrial estate near Grimethorpe, also aims to recruit 20 people within the next five years.

Universal Components UK, a global distributor of truck and commercial vehicle parts, is also expanding from Sheffield in to a new purpose built 165,000 sq ft advanced logistics facility at Ashroyd Business Park in Barnsley this year.

Amanda Dickinson, managing director of Rethink CMYK, said: “The support we’ve had to relocate and expand here in Barnsley has been brilliant. It’s been great to talk through our business strategy right from the start and gain real and significant backing for our growth plans.”

Enterprising Barnsley has now relaunched its business support programme and set out its aims for the next 12 months which include supporting the creation of 140 new Barnsley businesses and the creation of 1,300 new jobs.

A key part of this year’s economic growth strategy is to attract businesses to three newly-developed industrial units near junction 36 of the M1, part of the R-evolution @Gateway 36 mixed-use scheme. These properties, between 13,000 sq ft and 30,000 sq ft, have been developed by Harworth Estates and supported by Barnsley Council’s Property Investment Fund.

Barnsley’s economic development figures are published by Barnsley Council which has a four year plan for economic growth set out in its Jobs and Business Plan 2014 -2017.

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