Views shared on development of new digital campus in the heart of the town centre
To help shape our plans for The Seam – Barnsley’s Digital Campus, Barnsley Council held an open consultation in February 2022.
Plans include creating a welcoming urban cluster that combines innovative technology enabling sustainable, market changing housing; inclusive, green public 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, and proposals for the new development have been drawn up by Barnsley Council appointed consultants Arcadis and architects, BDP.
The aim is to create an ‘urban village’ using creative landscape and building design and digital technology to create a safe, smart and sustainable living and working environment.
The survey received over five hundred responses and provided valuable feedback to help shape our plans.
What are people excited about?
- A healthy majority of people were in favour of using The Seam to test new technology. This will allow us to pioneer new energy-efficient solutions and technologies such as smart lighting, intelligent parking and better use of real-time data. The site will be a real testbed for new ideas and innovations.
- With overwhelming support for The Seam to be sustainable – we’ll look to explore the latest innovative measures to make the campus a low-carbon development. One way we’ll look to develop this will be through the Active Travel Hub – with cycling facilities and new cycle routes. Plans also include green infrastructure throughout, with multifunctional greenspaces. The provision of EV charging and new smart technologies will also support sustainability.
- 73% of people supported the Active Travel Hub being developed on the site in Phase One. 70% of people were also in favour of reducing car use on the campus.
- 75 % of people positively supported more public green space as part of the site. A key goal of the site is to create an urban village. Fresh, clean spaces outdoors is another way we can support Seam users and visitors to get more time outdoors for improved well-being,
- 67% of people supported new low carbon housing on The Seam. This contemporary approach to how people can live, work and create will help to build an enjoyable urban village lifestyle.
During the consultation, we recognised people’s concerns about the loss of parking, anti-social behaviour, and disability access in and around the site. We will, of course, take these considerations into planning the next steps of the site and share how we plan to address these concerns.
A report to Cabinet on the next stages of the project was approved on Wednesday, 6 April.
Kathy McArdle, Service Director, Regeneration and Culture, said: “We would like to thank everyone who took part in the survey and our online sessions.
“We have ambitious plans for The Seam to create a place that will bring together people, business, education and the public sector to benefit Barnsley, supporting our vision for Barnsley 2030. It will be a place for people to start, grow and expand their businesses, and for people to learn and develop new skills through Barnsley College.
“It will be a place for making connections, sharing and cultivating digital growth not only in Barnsley, but across the South Yorkshire region, nationally and globally.
“The feedback will be used to inform our design stages as we develop our digital campus – we understand that creating a sustainable, eco-friendly, vibrant new neighbourhood is important to our residents. We also need to provide the infrastructure to promote active travel and behaviour change, which is a key focus.
“We look forward to sharing more details as this exciting project moves forward”