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Barnsley people are being asked for their views on innovative plans to develop an eco-friendly business and community district in the heart of the town centre.

New plans for The Seam digital campus include energy-efficient housing, green open spaces, improved facilities for cyclists and walkers and a multi-storey car park with electric vehicle charging points.

The Seam is already home to two Digital Media Centres and Barnsley College’s SciTech building. Its car park is used by commuters and shoppers and many have also visited the Covid-19 testing centre located on this site in recent months.

Proposals to develop the area have been drawn up by Barnsley Council and sustainable design consultants Arcadis, working with BDP Architects.

The aim is to build new facilities around the existing business and learning centres to create an ‘urban village’ using the latest ideas in landscape and building design and digital technology to create a safe, smart and sustainable living and working environment.

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Barnsley Council’s Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We are putting forward a range of new and future-focused ideas for The Seam and would love to gain the opinions of people who already use the site whether they work, study, visit or simply park here.

“Our plans are bold and aim to push current boundaries and use technology, data and high- quality design to create a vibrant neighbourhood where people can live, work, learn and explore new ideas.”

The proposals being considered include a new 400 space multi-storey car park with, initially, 40 electric car charging points and new smart technology which will enable drivers to check ahead for spaces.

Also on the drawing board is a network of green spaces and walkways designed for environmental and community benefit with smart lighting and security features.

An ‘active travel hub’ is proposed where cyclists and walkers can access safe bike storage, shower and toilet facilities, bike, electric bike and scooter hire plus a green commuters’ café.

Finally, a new energy-efficient housing development is planned for the site which will incorporate innovative ideas in low-carbon design and construction to support greener living.

The Seam is a two-minute walk from Barnsley’s Transport Interchange and covers an area which extends either side of County Way between Regent Street and Old Mill Lane.

Barnsley Council aspires to be carbon neutral across the authority by 2040 and across the borough by 2045 and this development aims to champion energy and resource efficiency, support the move to more sustainable transport options and create well-planned green spaces for people and the planet.

Cllr Cheetham said: “We’re keen to gain public comment on these proposals to help us develop this part of Barnsley town centre for the future.”

The public consultation on The Seam will run throughout February. The results will then feed into the next stage of the design works. There will be a further opportunity to comment at the planning permission stage.

The Seam consultation can be completed online here or hard copies can be reviewed at the Library @ The Lightbox in the town centre.

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