HUNDREDS of hectares of land across Barnsley has been earmarked for housing - including some that sits in the greenbelt. 

A new document has been published by the council that indicates potential sites for development - and residents are encouraged to have their say on it. 

The 'sites and places' plan maps every inch of the borough, with 681 hectares identified as 'available for economic development' and a further 408 set aside for housing.

Coun Linda Burgess, who is responsible for development, said: "There's a long way to go but the economic strategy is a very ambitious plan, for making sure that we increase the opportunity for jobs to be created in Barnsley and that we make sure there is the right infrastructure, i.e. the sites for businesses to come into Barnsley.

"We are talking about the big businesses which are needed."

Large employment sites are proposed along the Dearne Valley Parkway - near Hoyland Common and Birdwell - and the link road near Grimethorpe.

Other sites near the Dodworth motorway junction and at Birthwaite Business Park, Darton will be extended.

Farmland between Barugh Green Road and Hermit Lane, Gawber, has also been identified as an employment site along with fields near Blacker Hill, sandwiched between the Dearne Valley Parkway and the former railway line, and to the rear of Applehaigh View at Royston.

Coun Burgess accepts there will be objections but said they had to be weighed against the need to create 25,000 jobs to bring Barnsley up to the regional average.

She said: "The big argument is the need for jobs.

"It isn't going to happen overnight, but we have to put all the building blocks in there and we have to make it possible for growth to take place and for jobs to be created."

Barnsley had enough greenbelt to absorb the proposed developments, she added.

"Seventy-seven per cent of Barnsley is in the greenbelt. I would love to know another metropolitan authority that could claim that."

Plans to designate some greenbelt areas as housing land are already attracting objections.

The plan is available to view in Barnsley Library. You can also view the town centre plans here.

What do you think? Have you looked at the plans yet?