CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new car park in Darton are expected to be approved this week – despite a residents’ petition urging Barnsley Council to axe its plan.

The scheme, at Darton Park on Church Street, could provide 33 spaces and has been earmarked for approval at last Tuesday’s planning board meeting.

Objections relate to an increase in traffic, loss of trees and access, which has resulted in 29 people signing a petition against the proposals.

A report said: “It is proposed to create a car park to service Darton Park. The car park is rectangular in shape and would provide 33 spaces along with circulation areas.

“It would be hard-surfaced in tarmac to highway specifications with drainage provided as required. In addition the access road surface would be improved with appropriate road markings to allow for pedestrian access.

“With regards to the need for the car park, it is one of 24 key parks within the Barnsley borough and is therefore a priority for improvement.

“The car park is necessary to maximise access to facilities in the park for older people, disabled people and families. This has been identified through the consultation process which included local residents, businesses and ward members.”

Campaigners argue the plan, on land earmarked as green belt, also encourages car use which has a knock-on effect on Darton’s air quality and ‘is in conflict’ with the council’s policy to encourage healthier lifestyles and reduce obesity.

The report added: “The use of the car park is expected to be linked directly to the park and as such is likely to be mostly during daylight hours. In this respect noise disturbance is also not anticipated to have a significant impact.

“The potential for antisocial behaviour in this location exists already, but the proposed includes new lighting to ensure maximum visibility.”