MORE than £1m has been released by senior councillors this week to ‘compensate’ for loss of facilities through the controversial relocation of a historic sports ground.
Despite local campaigns to save it, Hoyland’s Rockingham Sports Ground will move to Parkside as part of Barnsley Council’s Hoyland West masterplan – which has seen the controversial new Hermes ‘mega hub’ already built.
Wednesday’s cabinet meeting saw councillors agree with officers’ recommendations to approve the £1m.
A report approved by members last month released funding to commence construction of the new Parkside facility – estimated at a cost of £1.16m, with a further estimated £700,000 needed to fund an artificial grass pitch.
The extra £1m will fund the construction of a new pavilion, in compensation for loss of facilities at the Rockingham ground caused by the new masterplan developments.
The Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation is the holder of the covenant on the site, and the ground is held under a lease by the Forge Community Partnership which ends in 2035.
The council have made an agreement with the trust that the Rockingham site could be purchased.
Coun Chris Lamb, cabinet spokesperson for environment and transport, said: “It is important to note that the council has been working with the Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation, the developer and the Forge Community Partnership throughout this process.
“All of the current sporting activities will be relocated, and we’re committed to developing the new facility for future use. “Long-term, this will provide a much-improved facility and better recreational offer for the community.
“The new, energy-efficient building will also allow for much wider community use and create a sustainable facility for the future.
“We know that sport and physical activity directly contributes to residents’ physical and mental wellbeing.
“We see this as a positive step in providing a real community asset that will be used for a range of sports and include health initiatives such as cardio rehabilitation.
“It will be much more than a sports club and will benefit the wider community for many years to come.
“We understand the impact of developments in our communities.
“The masterplans we have in place make sure we can secure these improvements in the local area while also providing the vital jobs and houses we need.
“In this case, we are seeing a significant improvement, with a brand new, purpose-built facility, to make a real difference in the local community.
“All stakeholders have been involved in the positive discussions to provide a new facility that will benefit all.
“It will certainly give children and young people in the area much more opportunity to access better sporting facilities than before. “We hope it will also offer something for our older residents by hosting community groups, making it a truly intergenerational facility.”
Coun Jim Andrews, deputy leader of the council – who chaired Wednesday’s meeting in council leader Sir Steve Houghton’s absence – said the fact the new building will be energy-efficient ties into wider area targets.
“This development goes with our healthy Barnsley goals too,” he added.
“Particularly our aspirations to get to net zero carbon by 2040 and 2045 – this will play a part in achieving that.”