Record occupancy levels at The Business Village have led to plans to build a fourth phase at its site in Wilthorpe.

Having secured over £1m in funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the new building will make room for up to 18 new businesses and add nearly 10,300 sq ft of office and work space.

“We are delighted to have secured one of the last European grants to be awarded in the UK before March 29th,” said Business Village Chief Executive Adrian Waite. “The application process started in 2017, but the initial plans for the building were created in 2013 so we have been waiting a long time to bring this project to fruition.”

The Business Village is currently home to over 100 businesses with more than 500 staff between them.

Formerly known as Barnsley Business & Innovation Centre, the 6.5-acre site was first developed in 1988 when 13,500 sq. ft of office space was created for potential high growth early stage technology businesses requiring significant levels of business support. Further phases followed in 1992 and 2001, alongside another development in 1994 five miles away in Cudworth.

Over the last two years, occupancy has risen significantly backed by nearly £330k of investment in modernising the four existing buildings. The summer of 2018 saw record occupancy across both sites, and to back up the need for the new building, the Wilthorpe site has record occupancy in March 2019.

The new building was first mooted in 2003 but funding challenges have thwarted two previous attempts to develop what will be the final phase on the Wilthorpe site. Nearly £1.1m of European grant funding has now been secured, and construction is expected to start towards the end of 2019 or early in 2020, with the first new tenants expected at the end of 2020.

“The grant is awarded to provide more flexible space for growing small and medium size businesses in Barnsley and is a significant contribution towards the full build cost. We would not have been able to afford the investment without this grant support, and we are also indebted to Barnsley Council for their financial assistance with the project. The Council is very business focussed and has supported our efforts throughout the process,” added Adrian.

“If we were one business then we would be one of the largest employers in Barnsley, so our accommodation is a key part of the Barnsley economy. During the last 32 years, we have supported over 500 businesses, and helped create more than 3,700 jobs with some of these businesses now having multi-million pound turnovers, so it was a wise move for Barnsley Council to secure our initial funding back in the 1980s.”