AN action group which formed to oppose a controversial scheme to create a new one-way road system through part of a popular park has abandoned its plan to seek a judicial review against Barnsley Council’s decision due to fears over mounting costs.
Members of the Save Penny Pie Park Group have been raising funds to finance the costs associated with a judicial review, which could have led to a High Court showdown between the council and campaigners who have been at loggerheads over the local authority’s plan to ease congestion from junction 37 of the M1 to the town centre.
Although a funding campaign was launched, the group received advice from a legal team that in the event that a review was not successful, they could be liable for the council’s legal costs and so have ditched their bid.
Lyndsey Darren, who chairs the group, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the level of public opposition to the scheme and the support given to the group ever since these damaging proposals were announced.
“More than 2,700 people signed our petition opposed to the scheme, there were 250 written objections made to the planning application, 100 objections were made to the land appropriation consultation and we have raised well over £2,000 to support the judicial review.
“The voters made their feelings clear at the local elections in May by voting in campaigner Peter Fielding in favour of the sitting Labour councillor.
“The council have simply refused to listen to reason in the face of overwhelming evidence and opposition in their determination to build this damaging, unnecessary and outdated gyratory and they will never be forgiven by the local community for this act of vandalism.”
The road will see traffic from the motorway towards the town centre diverted around the new system from the Broadway traffic lights, with vehicles coming out of town using the existing but improved Dodworth Road, which is being made one-way on a four-lane section past Horizon Community College.
The traffic lights will remain, but there will be a new road built to bypass a section of Pogmoor Road and no right turn onto Broadway to traffic from the motorway, with motorists instead having to go around the gyratory and back up Dodworth Road before turning left into Broadway.
Funding for the £4.3m scheme, which was initially earmarked to start as soon as April 2019 and take a year to complete, will be jointly covered by the council, which has re-prioritised its highways department’s expenditure programme to enable the work, and Sheffield City Region’s investment fund which has provided £2.7m towards the project.
A total of 1.133 hectares of the park’s land will become a highway after the council won approval from its planning board, cabinet and most recently a scrutiny panel made up of councillors who opted against referring the plan back to ruling cabinet members with an alternative recommendation.
“We will continue to fight this scheme until there is no chance of saving our park,” Lyndsey added.
“As well as continuing our fight, we will encourage residents to prepare to claim compensation under the Land Compensation Act 1973 for the loss of value to their properties caused by the gyratory and once its construction is inevitable we will fight to make the best use of any green space left.
“It is still not too late for Barnsley Council to do the right thing and scrap this crazy scheme. I hope they eventually see sense.”