A ROAD rally which was set to receive the green light from Barnsley Council and put the town on the ‘international motorsport map’ has been cancelled – after residents voiced their concerns over safety.
The event – organised by Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club and sponsored by Mapplewell-based White’s Bakery – would have required the closure of dozens of roads in the Penistone East and Penistone West wards, which councillors were set to approve at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
However, a last-minute decision was taken to cancel the race – which had been pencilled in for December 10 to involve 120 competitors – after a social media backlash.
The cancellation, announced by Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton at the cabinet meeting, comes despite support being received from Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates and local councillors.
Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, said: “Cabinet members were due to discuss Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club’s request for a motor race order for a closed road rally on December 10.
“In recent days the council has received concerns from residents and businesses, and we have been passing on these concerns to the club for their consideration.
“The council has engaged with the club up until the point they decided to cancel the race on Tuesday night.
“The club informed us they are withdrawing their application and the event will not be going ahead as planned.
“As a council, we have heard the concerns and objections that local residents have raised and ensured those were understood by the club.”
The club had said safety was of ‘utmost priority’ and opted against revealing the planned route beforehand.
However a report, which was made public last week, cited a similar event in East Yorkshire – held in February – in which a member of the public sustained serious injuries and the Penistone event having ‘multiple’ homes within a metre of the race route.
A spokesperson from the Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club said: “In light of a number of objections submitted to the local authority this week, we have made the decision to cancel the first ever South Yorkshire rally.
“We are committed to community engagement for this event and have taken seriously the concerns raised by some of the residents in the area.
“We would like to thank all of our supporters including the volunteers, residents, out-of-town visitors, Barnsley Council, other key organisations and our sponsor who have supported our planned event.
“We are sorry to disappoint those who were looking forward to it.
“We’re extremely proud to have been involved in developing this project, which would have put Barnsley and Penistone on the international motorsport map.”