Case Study Eldon Street HSAZ and JE James Cycles


  • A historic building at serious risk of dereliction has been brought back into functional use and with restored historic character
  • A 60 year old family run Yorkshire and Derbyshire based business will be opening its first store in Barnsley, in a 3 storey, 7,874 sqm space
  • The commercial and public sector have shared aims and a developing partnership through Barnsley MBC’s Active Travel Hub


12-18 Eldon Street was built by the YMCA with the foundation stone laid by the right honourable Lord Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird, president of the YMCA and one of England’s first football stars, on 3 July 1908. The building was formally opened on 4 January 1909. The original plan included a lounge and social area, lecture hall, billiard room and a gymnasium with large skylights to maximise daylight on the top floor. The building originally had three retail units on the ground floor. The first tenants were Holroyd Dyers and Dry Cleaner’s, Walker’s gloves and hosiery shop and Hinchliffe’s milliners. Many local residents have fond memories of the YMCA. They had an active table tennis club and many local people remember playing there in the 1950s and 1960s.


To restore this historic and loved building and bring fresh high quality retail options into Barnsley town centre.


The grant has been a godsend to us because once we knew the problems with the building, we probably wouldn't have been able to afford it. We might have put it back on the market…the grant has been a saviour for us trying to get a retail business going there as well as saving the building. Left another few years, it would have been virtually ready for demolishing. (Chris James)

Image: James Mulkeen

The owners of JE Cycles were looking for new locations to expand their business into. The revitalisation of Barnsley town centre in previous years through the development of the Glass Works, and the increased footfall this brought, led them to the area. They were attracted to the Eldon Street property for its location close to the Interchange, the ‘gateway’ to Barnsley, and because of its size. On viewing they noticed the dilapidated state of the building but were encouraged to purchase it when the sales agent informed them of the possibility of funding for refurbishment through the HSHAZ.

The biggest success is the drive from Tegwen and the team to make sure that things go forward, and the enthusiasm. (Chris James)

As the renovation project progressed it became clear that the challenges to the building were greater than first thought. Dry rot that had set in as the result of a poor roofing repair was discovered, as was the presence of asbestos. The HSHAZ team worked closely with the business owners to maintain enthusiasm and momentum through a challenging build. The business owners were unused to working to conservation standards and so the HSHAZ team provided contacts to conservation professionals such as architects and contractors. The works on the building have provided employment for contractors and shop fitters.

We're not used to dealing on the heritage side…there's a lot more hoops that you have to jump through to get things authorised and agreed. (Chris James)

Image: James Mulkeen

The HSHAZ funded urgent roof repairs (including repairs to the historic roof trusses and historic roof lights), reintroduction of a traditional unified shopfront (replacing two modern shopfronts with oversized and inappropriate signage) renovation of the historic sash windows, a traditionally tiled foyer, and secondary glazing to the first and second floors. The business funded the internal fit out and opened in May 2024.

We've tried to keep as much character inside the building as possible…wherever we can show the features of the building, we have done. And it's very traditional looking outside. It's fantastic. (Chris James)


The people of Barnsley will be able to fully enjoy a sensitively refurbished historic building that has now been put back into everyday usage. Additionally, they will have the option to shop for bicycles at an independent store that offers regular and e-bikes, the opportunity to speak to specialists and have use of bike servicing and repairs.

Barnsley MBC and JE James Cycles have developed a mutually beneficial relationship with JE James providing some of the bikes that will be used as part of Barnsley MBC’s Active Travel Hub. This initiative is an ambition to reduce carbon emissions, providing hireable bicycles and e-bikes to encourage active travel in and around the town centre for locals and visitors alike.

We're involved with Barnsley Council now…loaning bikes out to people…they've taken some E bikes from us for that purpose. (Chris James)

The [JE James Cycles] brand-new store will be a completely new offering for us and shows real faith from the private sector in the regeneration that has taken place in Barnsley. It will also assist us in renovating another key piece of the puzzle in the centre, as part of the Heritage Action Zone, and in supporting our upcoming expanded Active Travel Hub. (Councillor Robin Franklin) [1]