Approval for plan for 360 new homes
A LARGE-SCALE development at Thurnscoe has been approved by Barnsley Council’s planning board.
The 11-hectare site at Lingamore Leys will see 360 new homes being built – the last of three phases aimed at developing the area.
But the scheme has not gone ahead without major concern within the community. Worries were such that a public meeting was held for residents to have their say.
Objections included loss of privacy, impact on schools, GPs and roads. People felt this was a large-scale plan in an already over-developed area.
At Tuesday’s planning committee meeting, head of planning Joe Jenkinson said the scheme was being recommended for approval.
“We have amended details a number of times, addressing concerns on parking, open space and the mix of properties,” he said.
The scheme, by Keepmoat, will be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties with five per cent affordable housing. All the homes will have off-street parking and a large open space includes a multi-use games space and children’s play area.
Mr Jenkinson said a footbridge links the site to other residential areas and that a road bridge could be included in the development if funding becomes available.
The scheme has attracted £2.1m in Section 106 money from the developer to compensate for loss of amenity. Some of this money will be used to improve bus stops on Lingamore Leys and Merril Road.
Controversial plan for new school gets green light
PLANS for a new town centre school have been given the seal of approval by members of Barnsley Council’s ruling cabinet.
Cabinet members approved a report recommending a site on Broadway, Kingstone, be handed over to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for a nominal fee of £1 – on the basis that the council will not commit any further funding to the scheme.
Halifax-based Trinity Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) will occupy the site, earmarked for a 900-place school necessary to satisfy projected shortages in secondary school places.
But with an originally sought September 2021 opening not achievable, the MAT will have to propose ‘temporary accommodation’ to the Department for Education (DfE).
The DfE, funding the school under the government’s free school policy, has stipulated it will not consider the temporary agreement until a permanent site has been secured.
Contracts for the deal need to be signed before March 31, when procurement and planning discussions will take place.
Council leader Sir Steve Houghton made clear to Wednesday’s cabinet meeting that while members back the report, any development on the site – currently in freehold ownership by Barnsley Council and the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – is still subject to planning consent.
While the DfE will carry out more detailed investigations ahead of drawing up site plans, a public open space element will be an ‘integral part’ of the development.
“The borough needs an additional secondary school because of the growth in numbers and the school needs to be in the central planning area to meet that need,” said Coun Houghton.
“The council doesn’t have the resources to build that school, and the government will only fund free school operators.
“I clearly think we should allow them to purchase this site because we need those places. But it’s obviously subject to planning, which will look at this independently and objectively.”
A loss of open space was listed among objections presented at Wednesday’s meeting – but a report noted the current open space was of poor condition and limited use.
The proposed disposal of the site for a nominal fee of £1, the report added, was justified because ‘the cost of building a school will be substantially more than the value of the land’.
Other objections regarding traffic, drainage and pollution will be addressed at the planning stage.
Dodworth Coun Peter Fielding questioned whether residents’ views would be adequately considered in ‘what is clearly a done deal’.
“Barnsley Council must have known then that this extra capacity was required but have prevaricated to such an extent that the DfE has given them no other option but to gift the land to ensure that a school is built at no cost to the council,” he told the Chronicle.
“The council and the DfE are refusing to divulge the findings of the site search for the new school site so there can be no public scrutiny of the decision to site the school on Broadway, which takes up more green space in the area and completely contradicts the Local
Plan before the ink is barely dry on that document.
“All this comes less than eight years since Barnsley rebuilt all its secondary schools, supposedly with sufficient capacity under the Building Schools for the Future programme under which they will be paying the £1.2bn bill for the schools for 25 years.
“It seems that the future didn’t last very long.”
Housing estate plan for old school site
PLANS to build 235 homes on a former high school site have been earmarked for approval on Tuesday.
Wombwell High School, which closed in 2012 when it merged with Foulstone to form Netherwood, is at the centre of a bid from Premier Construction Group.
The application consists of 34 two-bedroom, 126 three-bedroom and 75 four-bedroom properties.
Two hectares of the site will be retained for a new primary school and £2m will be secured from the developer for loss of amenity if it’s given the green light, a report revealed.
New estate plans
PLANNING permission is being sought for a potential 70-home estate.
The planned work is set to take place on the land off West Street, near Worsbrough Bridge.
The application is currently under consideration from Barnsley Council’s planning board.
Work is underway
ENGINEERS have started land stabilisation works at Penny Pie Park to ensure it is strong enough to cope with a new multi-lane road system.
This second phase of work at the site, in the Dodworth ward, is being carried out by GDC and is expected to last for approximately 20 weeks.
Road tying-in works have been scheduled for early 2021, according to Barnsley Council.
Much needed school could happen next year
A NEW school is set to be built near a notorious crossroads where traffic congestion is already stretched to ‘breaking point’.
Two sites – both on Broadway, Kingstone – were identified as preferred options for the 900-pupil secondary school, called Trinity Academy, but the former Broadway Recreation Ground has been settled on.
It is due to open as early as next year and has been approved by the Department for Education after a successful bid was made by Halifax-based Trinity Multi-Academy Trust (MAT).
According to a Barnsley Council notice, it is proposed that the local authority will relinquish its freehold interest in the site to allow the Secretary for State, Housing and Local Government to effectively re-allocate the land’s use in order for the school to be built.
However, ’significant concerns’ have been raised because of its location, which is near a planned new one-way road system at Penny Pie Park and the existing Horizon Community College.
Coun Peter Fielding, who represents the Dodworth ward, told the Chronicle: “It appears the current intention is to put the new 900-place secondary school that Barnsley needs on the Broadway playing fields.
“While it is important that children in the town have enough secondary school places to meet the growing demand and I welcome their provision, it is important that any new school is built in the best place for those students and for the town and its infrastructure.
“We are told that 900 new secondary school places are needed for the central area of Barnsley, encompassing a wide area of the town, so it is vital that we do not make the same mistakes as were made when the site for Horizon Community College was chosen in the face of strong public opposition just ten years ago.
“The subsequent traffic congestion from that decision to put 2,300 students in an already busy and polluted area has resulted the loss of Penny Pie Park.
“I and many residents are therefore understandably concerned that it appears that there is now an intention to locate a new school just round the corner on Broadway, in an area with numerous schools already, leading to further peak time traffic congestion and the loss of a significant amount of public green space.
“This in an area that has already lost Penny Pie Park and is about to lose 140 hectares of green belt on a site designated as MU1 and the playing fields at South Road in nearby Dodworth.
“The school is due to open in 2021 can you imagine the chaos there would be for traffic in the coming two years when there’s that, Horizon and of course the new road to contend with?”
A government body, LocatEd, has identified Broadway as the preferred site for the school after looking at a ‘number of sites across Barnsley’ and is now negotiating with the council to acquire the site for a ‘nominal sum of £1’.
The free faith school will specialise in maths and science, supported by the Church of England Diocese of Leeds, catering for 11 to 16-year-olds.
“The findings of the search by LocatEd should be made public so we can see why other sites were deemed unsuitable when this one has such obvious problems,” Coun Fielding added.
“We don’t know how much work has been done on traffic modelling to accommodate such a school, as the school was not included during the design for the Penny Pie Park gyratory.
“Barnsley Council also need to be clear with the public as to whether they support locating the school on this site and are happy to provide the land for it, or have a different preferred option.
“This is a vital infrastructure decision for Barnsley and we need to get it right, so let’s put all the information in the public domain so residents can have a say and be listened to this time.”
The public can comment on the plan until March 14.
Plans for Thai food cafe
PLANS for a Thai street food cafe at Wombwell have been submitted to Barnsley Council.
Businessman Giulio Stifanese wants to turn an empty shop into a cafe and healthy eatery at Barnsley Road.
He says he doesn’t see any problems with the scheme, which will come before councillors at the next planning committee.
Mr Stifanese, who lives in Wombwell, says the detached property has no immediate residential neighbours.
“So I don’t see an issue with making an empty shop into a nice friendly cafe where people can meet and try new experiences,” he says.
He also insists there will be no noise impact or on transport or highways and says carbon filters will control cooking odours.
The building is currently being used as storage for a prior business. “I do not foresee any undesirable impact on the sustainability of the shopping area,” said Mr Stifanese.
At this stage, he is unsure about opening hours as these will depend on passing trade.
Comments can be made about the scheme on Barnsley Council’s website.
New homes could bring £1m to improve area
MORE than £1m is set to be secured to improve the local area around a 93-home development which has been earmarked to be approved.
Applicant Keepmoat Homes’ plan relates to St Helen’s Boulevard, off Carlton Road, and now features 13 two-bedroom, 60 three-bedroom and 20 four-bedroom properties.
According to a report, which will go before the planning board on Tuesday, ten per cent will be classed as affordable housing.
Objections relating to loss of view, increased traffic, oversubscribed GPs and schools, and devaluation of existing properties have all been brought up, but planning bosses supported the bid.
Section 106 money – set aside by developers for loss of amenity – totals £528,000 to boost primary and secondary schools, £410,000 for off-site open space improvements such as children’s play areas and £70,000 on sustainable travel.
The planning report said: “The site is accessed off St Helen’s Boulevard. This is an unadopted road, with Springwell Learning Community School beyond and a woodland area.
“The house types provide an appropriate mix. One electric vehicle charging point would be provided to each dwelling and cycle storage provided where there is not a garage.
“The applicant also proposes to provide the full suite of contributions required by local plan policies and more than £1m in commuted sums which would be used to compensate and mitigate the effects of the proposal.”
111 homes are being planned in Wombwell
PLANNING permission is being sought to build up to 111 homes in Wombwell.
Applicant Allan Finlay’s bid, relating to Station Road, has been submitted in its outline form which would require full planning permission to be granted at a later stage. The site is bordered by residential and commercial use, with woodland to its north, which then back onto Netherwood Academy’s playing fields.
Two watercourses – the River Dove and Bulling Dike – are nearby the site and both flooded late last year, prompting locals to complain about the site’s suitability.
The site, according to the plans, will be split into 2.7 hectares for housing and retain just over one hectare for green space.
The wait goes on for Royston Aldi opening...
THE opening date of a long awaited Aldi store has been pushed back to the summer.
Planning permission was granted to build the store on High Street, Royston, back in 2015 but it’s been hit by a number of delays – the most recent one in October.
According to the planning application, the German retailer submitted a variation to relocate the plant area on the site, which was approved on January 8.
The store was initially set to open next month, however Aldi confirmed the store will now open later this year.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “Construction work has commenced on the new Royston store and we plan to open the store in the summer.
“This will create between 20-30 jobs and enable local people to shop and save closer to home.”
Link road plans are revealed
A RAFT of road alterations planned in order to access a fiercely-contested green belt site allocated for 1,700 houses and business use have been revealed.
Barnsley Council will create a site known as ‘Barnsley West MU1’, bordered by Pogmoor, Higham, Gawber and Barugh Green, which is made up of housing, a new 300-place primary school and business use.
However, a contentious link road has been revealed this week off Higham Common Road – which also includes new roundabouts there, on Barugh Green Road and Capitol Park – leading campaigners to lodge more concerns about the proposals.
Coun Peter Fielding, who represents the Dodworth ward, said: “I strongly oppose the size of the development on green belt land on the MU1 site but it is clear it is going ahead.
“This is despite the widespread concerns and opposition from local communities who fear increased congestion, pollution and noise as a result.”
Comments can be made on the council’s website until February 5.
Community space at Penny Pie Park to be ‘intensely used’
DETAILS of the future look of a popular park which has been closed off in order to create a new one-way road system have been revealed.
A report suggests that Penny Pie Park - the green space at the centre of an ongoing row between campaigners and Barnsley Council - will become ‘a more intensely used community space’ upon the multi-lane road’s completion.
The park, on Dodworth Road, was closed to the public last month, sparking angry scenes between campaigners who have battled the council’s plan in a bid to force a U-turn. Members of Save Penny Pie Park claim the park’s usage will reduce when the work - which is due to last up to 18 months - is completed due to it being encircled by the new gyratory.
The report said: “The design provides for year-round interest, colour and drama in key locations and is intended to create a gateway to Barnsley to raise visitors’ expectations.
“The central area is also close to Horizon Community College and on the pedestrian route between the college and the bus drop-off point near the new junction with Pogmoor Road.
“A path along this desire line, together with seating and an area for the ‘friends of’ group, will result in heavier use of the central area. The planting here of smaller ornamental trees is to provide year-round colour and interest, and flowers and fruits.”
The repositioned play area will extend further east, into the existing wildlife area, according to the report but campaigners insist its levels of use will plummet.
Coun Hannah Kitching said: “The council’s once again displayed that it doesn’t listen to its public and I’m really struggling to see the benefits of this scheme, which comes at great expense financially and means a park will be lost.
“The re-positioned kids’ play area won’t be used and it will increase people’s exposure to air pollution.”
Next hub could give a huge jobs boost
A RETAIL giant’s new distribution hub could help create much-needed jobs in ex-mining communities hit hardest by years of austerity, plans have claimed.
The site, off Field Lane, lies between Brierley and South Elmsall and is currently open farmland which effectively acts as a buffer zone between the two villages and neighbouring South Kirkby.
According to a planning statement submitted by Next, the investment could total £125m and includes a 777,000sq ft development with a warehouse, offices, a 520-space car park, loading bays for 47 HGVs and a new roundabout to improve traffic flow on Doncaster Road and Field Lane.
A public consultation, which ran from October to November, included more than 5,000 residents in Brierley, South Kirkby, Hemsworth and South Elmsall and, if approved by planning bosses, jobs could be provided to workers from across Barnsley.
A planning statement said: “The proposed development is estimated to provide approximately 1,100 new jobs, of which over half will be net additional jobs. These will support the aim of the national planning framework for sustainable development and economic growth, equivalent to approximately £42m per annum for the local economy.
“Locally, the proposed development is likely to provide many employment opportunities close to neighbourhoods in south-east Wakefield and Barnsley’s north-east, where worklessness is a problem.”
The new warehouse and distribution space is required to cope with an expected increase in online sales for Next in the coming years, the statement added, and would ‘safeguard the retailer’s long-term strategy as being one of the area’s largest employers’ alongside ASOS, which is situated a short drive away near Grimethorpe, another ex-mining community.
A study, submitted as part of the application, reveals more than 40 per cent of residents within a ten-mile radius of the proposed site commute out of their local area, subsequently boosting economies elsewhere.
“The local labour market indicates that there is a high unemployment rate and relatively poor levels of skills,” the report added.
“There are also high proportions of deprivation, suggesting there there is the potential for the market to respond well to the employment proposals.”
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust - cited in the planning documents - has secured support from cross-party MPs across the country for its proposal that the government creates a dedicated fund to attract investment, and subsequently boost jobs, in ex-mining communities such as the ones on the Barnsley and Wakefield corridor and praised Next’s plans.
Chief executive of Coalfields Regeneration Fund, Gary Ellis, added: “We have an ambitious five-year strategy to transform former coal-mining communities into growing social and economic areas, but we cannot do it alone.
“Meeting with the complex needs of our communities is no simple task. Every neighbourhood is different, and each has its challenges. What we want to do is to create the infrastructure that will return these small cities, towns and villages to the once thriving locations they were.
“These communities have struggled, and many would say have been forgotten. Becoming a battleground during the election, it’s time for the promises that have been made to be put into practice.”
Landmark building is next to be demolished
A PROMINENT town centre building a stone’s throw away from the public transport hub will be demolished as part of what will be a ‘transformational makeover’ in 2020.
Eldon Street is set to receive a share of £2m in funding which will be used to regenerate and improve its appearance given its close proximity to Barnsley Interchange, the £180m Glass Works scheme and Library @ the Lightbox.
The council purchased 35 Eldon Street - which was last used a fish and chip shop and was also a former pub under the names of The Gatehouse, Devonshire Hotel and Beer Engine - in the autumn and has boarded up its windows.
Although timescales have yet to be published, the building will be demolished in order to boost Eldon Street’s appearance.
Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said: “The building has been purchased and it’ll be knocked down in due course. It’s something which visitors, who have arrived in Barnsley by bus or train, see first on their arrival and it doesn’t look great.
“We were keen to acquire it because it’ll improve the gateway, which will also be landscaped.”
Funding for the scheme is coming from a £2m pot allocated as part of Historic England’s Historic High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme, which Eldon Street was included in.
Barnsley was awarded the funding after submitting a proposal that focuses on its ‘heritage-led transformation’, which resulted in the building being identified due to its prominent location and its long-standing history in the town centre.
Eldon Street is seen as the epicentre for wider projects including the new Market Gate footbridge across the railway line, the nearby ‘Eastern Gateway’ site which the council plans to purchase from NPower and the Courthouse Digital Campus on County Way.
“We’re thrilled Eldon Street has been designated as a new Historic High Streets Heritage Action Zone,” added Sir Steve.
“This not only complements the investment that the council is making in improving Barnsley town centre, but enables local people to engage with their heritage and celebrate the new developments.
“We’ve already worked with Historic England in Elsecar so know how positive and productive this partnership will be.
“I have no doubt that this project will make an enormous difference to local people and visitors.
“We also know how important it is to drive Barnsley forward and make it a better place to live for our future generations.
“Our economic regeneration agenda is second to none, with huge developments in the town centre and a focus on creating jobs for the future.”
Once the building is demolished, the revealed face of the adjoining building will be used as part of the project to display a public artwork.
“A big part of this project will be a piece of mural artwork which we’ll be looking to install on the gable end of the building, which will provide an attractive welcome to Barnsley for visitors,” he said.
A council report added: “Providing an improved link between the sites and the interchange will encourage movement on this route and enhance connectivity to the town centre.
“The interchange’s west exit, which leads to Eldon Street, is the first view of Barnsley town centre for many of the visitors arriving by public transport.
“The regeneration delivered will bring more visitors and movement, making the gateway increasingly important.
“It is vital to create a positive first impression of a high quality, welcoming and animated town centre and to clearly guide visitors to their further destinations.
“At the exit, there are a number of streets leading to different parts of the town centre. The proposals look to create a clearer hierarchy of routes and improved signage.
“The unique character of the area with its network of pedestrianised streets, ginnels and arcades and hub for independent businesses should be celebrated.”
Trio of new town shops in the pipeline
OUTLINE planning permission is being sought to turn a shop into three new shops.
Applicant Peter Kwapisz is seeking to turn the existing P and J Textiles, in New Street, Barnsley, into three retail units.
The planning application states that P and J has two members of staff, but the three retail units will see four more people employed.
All nearby neighbours have been notified of the plans and a decision will be made on January 10, on whether to allow the change.
Plans for Tankersley station
PLANNING permission for refurbishment work at Tankersley’s fire station is expected to be sought next year, a report revealed this week.
The document, which will be discussed by members of the South Yorkshire Fire Authority at Barnsley Town Hall on January 13, sets out planned improvements to its estate during 2020/21.
Barnsley’s main station, on Broadway, Kingstone, will be knocked down and represents the biggest investment, although Tankersley’s refurbishment will cost £998,000.
A full outline for the plan is expected to be submitted to Barnsley Council’s planning board during 2020 and it will include new windows, doors, lighting, wiring, roof repairs, redecoration throughout and a new kitchen.
“Planning for Tankersley Fire Station will commence early 2020,” the report said. “We will spend money carefully, use our resources wisely and collaborate with others to provide the best deal to the communities we serve.
“The head of emergency response met with the Health and Safety Executive on November 14 to present and discuss SYFR’s future arrangements. These plans were accepted by the HSE.”
Tankersley’s new look will also allow its workforce to almost double from the current figure of 19 to 36 by the end of 2021, according to the report.
Barnsley missing out on 5G connectivity
BARNSLEY will lag behind other towns and cities in phone operators’ 5G roll-outs by several years leaving users at risk of being ‘cut off’, a report has warned.
The study, which will be delivered at Barnsley Council’s next ruling cabinet meeting on January 8, revealed the town is ‘not well served’ by the next generation of digital connectivity.
It says 5G uses much higher radio frequencies and more data to be carried at faster speeds, but warns that 5G is dependent on the wide availability of fast fibre connectivity.
Full fibre network coverage in Barnsley is at 3.99 per cent, lower than the 10.4 per cent national average.
“Barnsley is well served by the current generation digital connectivity technology,” the report said. “For example, coverage of superfast broadband is at 97.1 per cent of the borough and coverage of 4G ranges from 81 per cent to 92 per cent of the borough depending on network operator.
“However, both superfast broadband and 4G technologies are incapable of meeting future demands for speed, capacity, reliability, and responsiveness and are fast approaching end of life.
“Indeed, Openreach and the government have both announced plans to phase out copper-based superfast broadband infrastructure.”
Full fibre networks dispense with copper wire and traditional street cabinets, providing a direct connection from a property to an exchange using glass fibre and are capable of download speeds in excess of 1,000 mb per second.
The report said: “No mobile network operators have announced that Barnsley will be included in their initial 5G roll-out plans and it will take several years and several iterations of the technology before it is fully deployed.
“Unfortunately Barnsley is not well served by this next generation of digital connectivity technology.
“With copper and early generation cellular networks soon being phased out, we are at risk of becoming cut off, unable to use the applications, products and services that communicate on modern networks.
“This will increase the digital divide, with more people unable to benefit from the social, health, educational and financial benefits of being online.
“Following almost a decade of austerity and year-on-year reductions in central government funding, combined with rising pressures for both children and adult social care, the council’s ability to fund digital connectivity from its core budget is limited.”
However, cabinet members are set to approve Barnsley’s involvement in a South Yorkshire-wide digital connectivity strategy as a result of the findings, which includes local authorities joining forces in a bid to secure more funding.
Plans for a retirement village
PLANS have been submitted to Barnsley Council for a ‘ground-breaking’ new approach to retirement living in Hoyland.
Hawshaw Bank is the first project from Sky-Lark, a new initiative created by the architects at Sheffield-based CODA Studios in association with Broadfield Holdings, Crossbow Investments, Knight Knox and Alcove.
Their debut development, submitted to Barnsley Council, will feature a selection of 40 one-bedroom homes, with double height living spaces and eco-friendly features.
According to the plans, the gated development will also include communal gardens and allotments, a village hall and a host of security features.
“We aim to deliver 15 to 20 sites over the next three years, predominantly in former mining communities,” said Crossbow chief executive David Cross.
“More than a million homeowners want to downsize but can’t find the right property and yet less than one per cent of UK newbuilds are now bungalows.
“Our research has demonstrated very clearly the need for this style of high quality but affordable development in a market that is ready for expansion.
Subject to planning approval, work is expected to begin on site in spring 2020.
Diversions in place due to bridge closure
NETWORK Rail is advising drivers in Wombwell that Hough Lane bridge will close in the New Year as work will take place to replace it.
From Monday, January 6, the bridge over the railway will be closed to allow utilities such as gas, electricity and water to be removed from the bridge ahead of it being demolished and reconstructed.
To allow this work to take place safely, the road will remain closed until the end of the project in June 2020.
During this time, a clearly sign-posted diversion for motorists will be in place. Pedestrian access will be maintained for the majority of the closure via a temporary footbridge.
A spokesman from Network Rail said: “Network Rail is working closely with Barnsley Council to keep disruption to a minimum.
“Hough Lane bridge was built in 1895 and the original bridge deck from this time is still in place. This now needs completely replacing and the new bridge will be stronger, as well as being wider, which will allow the pavements to be wider, improving the bridge for pedestrians.
“Network Rail would like to thank all those impacted for their patience whilst this vital work takes place.”