'Penistone 1' Shops and Offices

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Penistone 1
Penistone 1 is an offices and shops complex which opened with due ceremony in April 2014. This marked the final phase of the Penistone Town Centre Regeneration Scheme. It was called 'The Gateway' until just before it opened and had been built on the old lairage (a holding place for animals ready for slaughter). It replaced an area with a partly-collapsed wall on St Mary's Street, which had been in a dilapidated state and an an eyesore.

To gain entry (by appointment), the main access to the office side is via Back Lane (Market Barn pedestrianised area). Reserved parking is provided for employees and visitors. The shop side is mostly on St Mary's Street with a neat clock and a bronze cyclist sculpture overlooking St Mary's Street roundabout. There is a small section on Market Lane, just around the corner.

Market Lane
Market Lane leads from St Mary's Street roundabout to Tesco and it is probably the busiest road in Penistone. The road had been 'adopted' and named by Barnsley Council long after the centre had opened (possibly 2018). Under the old BMBC 'Charter for Parishes and Towns', local councils could submit road names for BMBC to approve or deny approval. Penistone Town Council was on the cusp of considering some names with a local connections to submit to BMBC. One such suggestion was 'Carnegie Way' in recognition of the great Scottish-American steel magnate who had directly helped Penistone to set up its original library through a generous grant.

Penistone council was then informed by its serving BMBC members that Barnsley Council had already chosen a name for the road, pending adoption. The old 'Charter' was apparently dead and was removed from the BMBC website around 2014. It appears that the developers now name the roads and they are nodded through by the council planners. This often results in some rather twee choices, such as 'Mews' (ex-stables) and 'Courts' with no particular relevance to their locations. Penistone has such a mews on the site of an earlier bowling green. Mind you, 'Avenues' are supposed to have trees on each side but none of ours are so equipped, even less so in the city of Sheffield. Wikipedia has an interesting article on Street Names.

Outline of the Development
Number OneThe developers, Dransfield Properties Ltd., gained a £1,265,199 'European Regional Development Fund' ('ERDF') grant towards the project. Details can be found on HM Government's 'List of Beneficiaries' - (232kB pdf), which says:

'This will result in 7,900 m² of new commercial space that could accommodate up to 150 jobs, including a two-storey commercial/office space specifically funded by ERDF with 2,122 m² of space for companies in target sectors of Business and Professional Services and Digital Media.'

Dransfield Properties described the facilities thus: 'Six new commercial units ranging in size from 1,200 ft² to 2,400 ft², up to 21 first-floor office units for start-up businesses, 25 staff car parking spaces, shared lobby and facilities, etc...'.

Cllr Andrew Millner Cut the First Sod on Tuesday 28th May 2013, with Barnsley MB Council leader Cllr Steve Houghton, other councillors, Barnsley Chronicle's Ed Elliott and people from the developers watching on. This was followed by a reception at the Royal British Legion club across the road, celebrating the start of construction of the new offices and shops development for Penistone, designed by Chesterfield-based WCEC, who also designed the Tesco.

Councillor Millner explained that 'The top floor will be managed office space, whilst the ground is mixed use. In other words, not all retail shops on the ground floor' ... 'we could have some retail, finance, food, etc.' In fact, the final development had seven ground floor shop units rather than the six originally mentioned. It looks as though one of the units might have been divided to provide two smaller units.

Rear entrance to Gateway Building
The New Gateway Development in March 2014
Gateway - 'Number One'

Opening Ceremony
Almost a year after it started, the Official Opening was held on 10.30am Wednesday 2nd April 2014. Barnsley MB Council Leader Sir Stephen Houghton CBE was guest of honour, accompanied by Dransfield Director Mark Dransfield and Penistone's Mayor Cllr Jonathan Cutts. Also attending were: Retail Property Director Andrew Malley, Head of Communications Amanda Holmes, local and Barnsley councillors and key Dransfield staff. See Dransfield's Key Personnel page for who was who.

Shown here are: Penistone Mayor Cllr Jonathan Cutts with his wife Glenda, Mark Dransfield and Sir Stephen Houghton CBE unveiling the plaque and the gathered throng after being herded into place for photographs.

Penistone Mayor - Gateway Opening 2nd April 2014Gateway Opening 2nd April 2014PlaqueGateway Opening 2nd April 2014

Two worthy speeches from Mark Dransfield and Sir Stephen started the proceedings, followed by the plaque unveiling and various group photographs. The ceremony was followed by a tour of the new office facilities, led by Amanda Holmes and followed by refreshments in the new Café Generation on St Mary's Street, which had not yet opened. It did so on Saturday 5th April 2014.

Reception Hall

The tour started in the Main Hall (shown above in 'fisheye') and highlighted the bright and spacious offices, a meeting room and a communal shower room, with people poking their heads into the various rooms. The corridor is decorated with photographs by Steve Tivey of Bolsterstone. Offices on the side nearest the Market Barn have large windows on to the corridor. Everything is light in tone and the carpets a delicious shade of blue.

Opening DayGatewayCorridorGateway

The Opening Ceremony was well reported by Catherine Rannus, diligently interviewing people for local radio, and Ed Elliott and his photographer for the Barnsley Chronicle. Another photographer did acrobatics for Dransfield Properties (he fell off his ladder). And, of course, I did my bit for this amateur website. A well-attended Open Day followed on Thursday 3rd April 2015, when business people could ask questions and (I would say) negotiate prices.

Computer Room

Some History
Referring to the pictures below, the first view (Jan 2014) looks from the junction of Market Street with St Mary's Street towards St Mary's Street Roundabout and the Coal Drops nearby. The tall building in the foreground is now 'Caroline's Studio' hairdressers, which was Donald Swallow's gents' hairdresser for much of the last century and famous for just one haircut style of 'Short-back-and-sides'.

Beyond the tall building on the left was the old 'Lock-up' or Penistone Jail (see the Lock-up page) on the third picture, from 2007. You can see the arched shape on its lower wall which was removed during demolition and placed on a new wall by the roundabout, as in the fourth picture (2010). It now has a plaque explaining what it is all about.

The new development has been built near Marsden's Square (the area behind the Spread Eagle and Old Crown) and mostly on the site of the old lairage and slaughterhouse. You can see it better in the second picture from the top of Penistone Church. It is interesting to note that plans were proposed in 2007 for Retirement Apartments on this same plot, before the Gateway/Penistone 1 was conceived.

The arches down the road are old Coal Drops from when there were railway sidings above. Trucks would receive coal through the gaps above directly from coal wagons on the railway. The arches are to become a row of shops but need a lot of building work as they are wide open to the sky above each arch and some structural work is needed to strengthen the first arch.

The old railway bridge is Penistone's main point of entry and was on the Penistone-Manchester 'Woodhead Line'. After the line closed, a massive EEC grant was used to repair, strengthen and renovate this and other ex-railway bridges bridge. This was before the Trans-Pennine Trail was established on the old Woodhead Line for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. Bridge Street goes down the hill from here but it is not named after the railway bridge. It takes its name from the much older 'Penistone Bridge' over the River Don at the bottom. The tall building near the Coal Drops is Penistone's original railway station.

A new road from the roundabout to Tesco (just off the first picture) is arguably the busiest road in Penistone but is yet to receive a name. Official documents from 2014 still call it 'unnamed road'. The procedure for naming the road rests with Barnsley Council, after consultation with Penistone Town Council but no approaches have been made to PTC so far. A second un-named road heads past the old railway station to an unsurfaced area which was the old railway sidings. This area is due to be developed with new housing.

Towards the GatewayNWThe old Gaol
New wallGateway top shop

The architecture of the new shops on St Mary's Street includes a special feature (see the second-last picture above), which gives a nod to the old, demolished lock-up. Local people have expressed their appreciation for the gesture, after feeling wounded by the unceremonious demolition of the old lock-up. This followed a series of events where the town's historic features have been destroyed. Father David of Penistone Church actually put up a 'For Sale' sign on the church to demonstrate that 'Nothing is Sacred' any more. Such was the popular feeling, and it was mostly focussed on seemingly uncaring developers and planners.

It has to be said that Dransfields appeared to take notice of local sensitivities to do a good job with the new shop units, which fit sympathetically with the stone buildings of Penistone town centre and were designed to look as though they had evolved over time. Each unit is different in some way, with a variety of frontages, sizes and windows, yet retaining a traditional styling. Again, local people were to say good things about the development after a particularly sceptical beginning.

With plans going ahead to develop the nearby Coal Drops as shop units, this could well revitalise this part of town but the perennial problem of long-term parking for staff and visitors needs to be urgently addressed. The large Tesco car park is time-limited and often full to capacity, while town centre parking is always a big problem, with no obvious solution in sight.

Penistone Town Regeneration
The £15m Penistone Town Centre Redevelopment Scheme started with the removal of the old Livestock Market, Retail Market and the Fur and Feather building. The livestock Market had suffered through various animal epidemics and had been struggling to survive. Early plans for the scheme had provision for a new Fur and Feather auction building but it was removed on later plans. After being made 'homeless', the Fur and Feather trade established itself in Holmfirth. The Fire and Ambulance Stations were also part of the scheme. In 2009, they were moved to a new purpose-built facility in Spring Vale, allowing the old Station to be demolished to make way for the new developments.

As of the summer of 2015, there are still moves being made to re-establish the Fur and Feather trade in Penistone but arguments rage on both sides, with some hoping to re-establish the trade while others see the auction of livestock in the Market Barn as unhygienic to other purposes.

There had been some controversy about the supermarket, especially in connection with the Co-operative Society's desire to build a new supermarket and some allegedly broken Barnsley MB Council promises. Tesco won the deal and the public was given an input on the choice between two building styles. The new Tesco Food Store was opened in August 2010 by the then Penistone Mayor Cllr Carol Bradbury, Barnsley MB Council Deputy Leader Cllr John Parkinson and Tesco Store Manager Mick Somerset. Tesco donated generously at the event by presenting cheques for both Mayor's charities.

Car Park
Although labelled as the 'Town Centre' car park, it is owned by Barnsley MB Council but controlled by Tesco and mostly of its area is time-limited to two hours parking, with an area set aside for three hours. The public had put comments in the Barnsley Chronicle about the time limit being too restrictive and not long enough to include such as: supermarket shopping, a tour of Town Centre shops and a meal or visit to the pub. Neither did the market traders regard it as long enough, with very limited parking available in the rest of the town. On big community events, such as Penistone Show or the annual Gala, the Tesco car park is put off-limits by its staff to visitors to the town. As of October 2016, our nearest rival of Stocksbridge has extended its Fox Valley parking to a 4-hour limit.

Penistone Market Barn
As befits an old Market Town, special attention was given to its marketplace. A very splendid oaken Cruck Barn was built on the former Retail Market site by Carpenter Oak of Totnes for the new Retail Market and community activities, under the ownership and control of BMBC. It was first used in February 2011 but there were serious problems at first due to open sides and high winds (which any local person would have predicted). Against professional advice, corners were cut on the lighting and this also proved a problem. The wind tipped over market stalls and damaged goods. At this time, the building was declared by many as 'not fit for purpose' and what ought to have been Penistone's crowning jewel was being seen as a badly thought out project by anonymous people of influence. This led to a largely undeserved bad press for the local council (which was not really involved) and Penistone councillors, although the blame could be laid mostly with Barnsley Council (BMBC) Planning Department and developers ignoring local knowledge and advice.

The Market Cruck Barn was officially opened in July 2011 by the then Penistone Mayor Cllr Steve Webber, the Barnsley Mayor, people from Carpenter Oak and assorted councillors in dark suits. There had been a widespread news blackout prior to the launch, which included 'Community Radio' Penistone FM acting on instructions from BMBC's 'Market Team', in disregard of its own community role. A consequential fall-out led to a boardroom coup and the complete subjugation of station news policy to local politics, to be relieved only when it moved to new studios in Penistone 1.

As the wind problem had been acute and damaging to stock, a plan was put in place to glaze the open sides in an appropriate style to the building. The new glazed panels were installed and the wind problem almost eliminated. It also looked good. Some high netting was also fitted and the lighting improved, though rain penetration on windy days and pigeons continued to cause problems.

It is interesting that the Market Barn has a 'Marmite' factor. People either like it or loath it. But it can't be disputed that the Market Barn has been a good centre for more than markets. Other activities, such as the Royal Jubilee Street Party, Folk Festivals, Easter services and Artisan Fayres have found the venue very suitable, in spite of booking obstacles with Barnsley Council's markets people, who retain an iron grip on local proceedings. One of their foul-ups led to a Folk Festival being cancelled.

In June 2015, a meeting was held between the 'Penistone Marketeers' and BMBC (Facebook 'Word' format). A month later, BMBC published a 'District Markets Review', dated March 2015, which concluded that 'Action must be taken'. Market costings had put both Penistone and Goldthorpe in the red but significant staffing costs were distributed around each market. Without this rather large loading, all markets would have been in profit. One might reasonably have questioned the expensive staffing levels, given that Penistone Town Council could have administered its own market at considerably lower cost. Read the full D M Review (pdf), which concluded that: 'The largest cost burden to each site was staffing costs.'

Businesses in Penistone 1
These businesses have moved in so far. Anyone interested in renting the remaining available space at Penistone 1 should contact Dave Hale on 01226 360 644. Office rents are advertised at around £90 per unit per week. Shop rents were advertised in 2011 as around £500 per week.

Shop Units
On St Mary's Street except for the last two which are on Market Lane.

Office Units
Penistone1 List of BusinessesAccessible from the pedestrianised area by Penistone Market Barn, leading to a dedicated car parking area. Address: Penistone 1, Regent's Court, Penistone, S36 6DT. Please note that this list is constantly in a state of flux and this is now just a snapshot from 2017. It is likely that they have split some units in two. A later sign has eight more suites totalling 16, so far.

Contact Dransfield Properties in Dransfield House, 2 Fox Valley Way, Stocksbridge, S36 2AB, to hire office and shop space.
Call 01226 360 644, Email: admin@dransfield.co.uk.

News Items
A quick trawl of Google ...

Interested businesses should contact Dave Hale at Dransfield Properties on 01226 360 644, or by Email: admin@dransfield.co.uk.

Dransfield House
2 Fox Valley Way,
Fox Valley.
Stocksbridge, Sheffield
S36 2AB

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