PROPOSALS for Penistone to host a 120-car rally race next month are set to be approved by councillors next week – despite a report stating that it’s impossible to ‘entirely eliminate all risk’ to the public.
The White’s Bakery South Yorkshire Stages Rally closed road car rally is organised by the Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club, with the backing of Motorsport UK.
The country roads surrounding Penistone have been identified by race organisers as the perfect challenge for professional drivers who will be coming from across the country.
Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, and the area’s local councillors have all thrown their support behind the project.
Mrs Cates told the Chronicle: “I’m delighted that the South Yorkshire Stages Rally is going to be hosted in and around Penistone this December.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the town to promote itself and attract new visitors to the area.
“Organising a major event like this is incredibly complex, so I’d like to thank all the local councillors who have supported it and the Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club for their expertise in making the arrangements.
“I’ve been working hard for months with the organisers to secure approval for the rally.
“It’ll provide a great boost for local businesses and bring people together for an exciting day of motorsport.”
The race is set to be held on December 10 – and the council have stated that two residents have objected to the race being held.
“To date, two formal complaints have been received about the proposed event by the council and dealt with using the council complaints process,” the report said.
“Some residents have concerns regarding lack of access to their properties for a non-essential road closure, comparing the event with a road closure for highway resurfacing or utility works.
“Complaints have also been received from event venues and a local Café who sells Christmas trees, with the road closures impacting their business at key times.”
It also states that there is no possibility to eliminate all risks associated with the event – and a recent nearby race saw one spectator seriously injured.
“It should be noted that whilst Motorsport UK have granted a rally permit having been satisfied that the organisers have taken steps to run the event in a reasonably safe way, it is not possible to entirely eliminate all risks,” the report added.
“A recent similar event in the East Riding of Yorkshire on February 26 resulted in serious injuries to a member of the public.
“There are multiple residential properties on the route with the walls of dwelling parts of some residential properties are within a metre of the carriageway surface.”
Due to the rural nature of the rally, the council expects there will be ‘few opportunities’ for local businesses to capitalise on any spectators – but footfall is expected to increase.
“It is likely there will be overnight stays for drivers and their attendant teams, which will benefit local hotels and guest houses,” it added.
“A designated spectator area which will hold up to 800 people is being staged by the organisers which will bring additional footfall to the area.
“This may in turn lead it increased footfall in Penistone town centre.
“Since the maintenance base is in Rotherham, this benefit will be enjoyed mostly by businesses outside the Barnsley borough.”
Barnsley Council will receive £6,500 from the organisers to cover the costs of closing the roads and to pay for green initiatives.
This race has been earmarked for approval – and further events are planned in the future, should this be deemed successful.
“Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club have indicated that a further event may be proposed for autumn 2024 and potentially future years afterwards.” the report added.
“A review of the economic benefits and value for money will be undertaken should approval be granted for rally in 2023 so that this can be considered as part of any future application.
“This report will be presented back to cabinet at a future date.
“Any future application will require appropriate governance and financial implications will be considered accordingly at this stage.”