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.”

New supermarket given go-ahead
LONG-AWAITED work to build a new supermarket on the edge of Barnsley town centre is expected to pick up early next year.
Retailer Aldi received permission to build a store next to Wickes on Old Mill Lane – on the former National Grid site – more than two years ago.
Delays have snagged the build but a planning document said groundworks have been carried out and this week it was confirmed that a construction plan has been finalised, identifying Old Tannery Road as the site’s main access.
Park and ride plan to cut parking chaos at hospital

CONGESTED streets around Barnsley Hospital could soon be a ‘thing of the past’ thanks to an ambitious plan to create a new park and ride facility near the M1, the Chronicle can reveal.

The hospital has identified suitable land at Capitol Park in Dodworth for the scheme, which has been fast-tracked due to ongoing issues with inconsiderate parking on clogged-up side streets around Gawber Road and Summer Lane.

It’s hoped the park and ride will mirror the success of Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s facility and alleviate hostility between hospital users and residents, who Coun Peter Fielding said have started painting their own yellow lines on streets.

“The hospital site only has capacity for parking for about half of its staff, and there is insufficient capacity to cope with patient and visitor parking demand,” Coun Fielding, who represents the Dodworth ward, told the Chronicle.

“The result of all this is congestion in the area. Local councillors have declared an air pollution emergency as residential streets within half a mile or more of the hospital being filled with parked cars and patients missing appointments.

“Consequently, I have had discussions with the hospital management to try and find a solution to these problems. I was encouraged to hear the desire of the hospital to remedy these parking problems to help staff, visitors, patients and residents.

“Staff are increasingly suffering verbal abuse and damage to their vehicles from irate residents. Residents are starting to paint their own yellow lines on streets, put up their own residents-only parking signs and protect street parking spaces with wheelie bins.

“It is becoming a very hostile situation that many hospital staff are finding unpleasant and residents find increasingly frustrating.

“The hospital would like to obtain a piece of land at Capitol Park to use as a park and ride service for both staff and patients and have set aside funding for the administration and operation of such a scheme.”

Summer Lane, Queen’s Avenue, Bingley Street, Brierfield Close, Victoria Crescent and Welbeck Street have all been identified as particular flare-up points where it’s alleged both hospital staff and visitors have abandoned their vehicles to avoid parking fees.

Coun Fielding added: “This is an ideal opportunity for Barnsley Council to partner with the hospital to help reduce congestion, air pollution and the parking misery around that area. 

“It would help to reduce air pollution around our schools and be a strong signal that declaring a climate emergency actually meant something.

“I congratulate Barnsley Hospital on their efforts to introduce this scheme and I call on Barnsley Council to show that they can invest in this sustainable transport solution with the same vigour and enthusiasm it puts into building roads on its parks.” 

Hospital bosses revealed that £250,000 has already been spent upgrading its car park barriers to improve traffic flow, while car share schemes have been encouraged.

However, they admitted that the current parking provision is simply not big enough, with approximately 3,800 staff - excluding visitors - battling over 1,200 spaces.

A hospital spokesperson said: “We recognise that this is a long-standing and difficult situation for our neighbours, staff, visitors and patients.

“We are continuing to invest where appropriate and we are working with the council to look at a number of options to try to improve the situation in as sustainable way as possible.

“As a hospital, we are committed to ensuring our environmental impact is as low as possible. We understand that the air quality in the areas around the hospital has been measured and is not cause for concern, but we continue to support cleaner air initiatives.”

£1m to help protect homes from flooding

A TOTAL of £1m will be invested to help protect Barnsley from future flooding as a direct response to last month’s widespread incidents which affected more than 150 homes.


The cash, which will repair damaged infrastructure such as sewer works and gullies ruptured by surging waters on November 7 when more than a month’s rain fell in a 24-hour period, will receive investment as soon as the spring.


WAB can reveal the £1m pot will be halved between the repair work and a plan to increase gullies’ cleaning rates as a result of councillors’ complaints about leaves and debris clogging up the drainage system.


This, it was announced at an overview and scrutiny meeting held at Barnsley Town Hall on Tuesday, affected surface water run-off and didn’t act as it should, subsequently choking roads with water.


However, Bulling Dike in Low Valley and the Dearne and Dove all overflowed, leading to calls for more dredging work to be carried out.


Cabinet spokesman Coun Chris Lamb said: “Due to the prudent financial position the council is in, £1m will be spent in the spring on Barnsley’s infrastructure.


“That includes both repair work and a higher frequency of cleaning for gullies, which I hope provides comfort to people.”


Other areas in line for work, apart from Darton, have been identified as Lundwood, Darfield, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Low Valley and Aldham Bridge.


Couns Gill Carr and Trevor Smith urged the council to work alongside the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water to rid waterways such as the Dearne and Dove of its debris to free up the flow.


Coun Smith added: “Some areas have not been dredged for several years and it’s full of debris. Station Road at Low Valley is a particular blackspot for it but it’s frustrating for both residents and councillors as it just hasn’t been done.”


Wayne Atkins, principal engineer for drainage at the council, told the meeting that the local authority has already met with both agencies in order to act on the concerns.


“A full survey will be carried out at that location,” he added. “In the coming financial year, there is a substantial sum – on top of our existing budget – to deal with this.”


However, bosses warned that more flooding is a distinct possibility due to climate change and they admitted it was not possible to completely eradicate the threat.


Matt Gladstone, executive director for place, said: “There will be a significant debrief into the recent floods and lessons will be learned from it, just as they were in 2007.


“When you think back to recent months, there hasn’t been many weeks which haven’t been given a flood warning.


“Natural flood management, including more tree-planting which can help to hold back water, is something high on both Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency’s agendas and we’re looking at key sites where this can happen.


“We have to keep an eye on rainfall and the likelihood of flooding, while doing all we can to put measures in place to stop it, as this issue won’t go away.”

Tempers flare at park

ANGRY scenes at a park fenced off without warning this week saw skirmishes between campaigners and site security with foul-mouthed abuse, an allegation of assault and claims a protester was hit by an HGV.


Campaigners against plans to create a new traffic gyratory within Penny Pie Park at Pogmoor were told to ‘f**k off and get a life’ by security staff brought in after the entire park – including public footpaths – were fenced off unannounced on Tuesday.


One campaigner claims he was hit by the HGV, while a security worker from the firm Vistech was allegedly assaulted by a protester.


Concern was also raised by campaigners including a local councillor that children exiting the town’s biggest secondary school – Horizon Community College – have been put in ‘severe danger’ of being hit by passing vehicles by Barnsley Council’s decision to close the park.


The park had previously been used by hundreds of pupils as a thoroughfare and an overspill from the pavement, and the fencing now forces all pupils back onto the pavement.


Students at the 2,000-capacity school used the park as usual on Tuesday morning, but were blocked from doing so by fencing which had been erected around the site’s perimeter by the end of the school day.


The park will remain closed off for up to 18 months while the new road is contructed, causing needless danger to children according to campaigners. 


Coun Peter Fielding, who represents the Dodworth ward, said: “I have two grandchildren at the school and there’s a lot of worried people. 


“You can’t expect children, hundreds at a time, to walk inches away from passing HGVs and vehicles. It’s a recipe for disaster and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.


“Why was no safe route created across the park? Why is the children’s play area fenced off when no work is going on in that area? Why has a public right of way from Grosvenor Walk been closed without any notice?


“The council simply must reopen part of the park in order to provide a safe walking route for the hundreds of children who need to get to Pogmoor.


“This episode has done untold damage to the council’s reputation in the local community and perhaps they will now consider consulting with the community and affected parties to redesign the way this project will be managed.”


One campaigner, Tom Heyes, is the Green Party’s candidate for Barnsley Central and video footage showed him being reversed into by the HGV on Wednesday, although no injuries were sustained.


Peter Giles, from Save Penny Pie Park, added: “It’s a shocking situation and there’s so much anger with not only the council but the security company, too, whose staff have told us to ‘f**k off and get a life’.


“We have every right to be on the pavement, on the roadside boundary of the fencing, so to be subjected to what we went through on Wednesday was unacceptable.”


Horizon’s executive principal, Nick Bowen, told the Chronicle that its pupils were released from school at ‘phased intervals’ to avoid a rush of children exiting the site.


“The park’s been closed and there’s a pavement for children to walk on if they need to get to Pogmoor,” he said.


A council spokesperson confirmed that a campaigner had lodged a report with the police about being struck by the HGV.


“We can confirm that this didn’t involve a Barnsley Council-owned vehicle,” they added. 


“We will investigate the matter and liaise with Vistech. 


“The area is temporarily inaccessible to the public for the duration of the works to ensure the safety of the public, including children and young people, while the construction work takes place. 


“This will also help us to carry out the works quickly and to minimise inconvenience to the public.”

Housing plan needs ‘cancelling’

PLANS to build a housing estate in a ‘toxic air zone’ adjacent to the M1 motorway have taken a step closer - after Barnsley Council issued legal notices to carry out the demolition of two four-bedroom properties to enable access to the site.

The notices, issued to residents on South Road, Dodworth, stated an initial intention of the demolition taking place as soon as next week, but Coun Peter Fielding told the Chronicle he has secured a delay to avoid adjacent residents being subject to disturbance over Christmas.

Persimmon Homes, the developer behind the 146-home planning application, outlined its bid for the land in April last year but concerns over its first choice access route - via a cul-de-sac on Bark Meadows - have delayed a decision.

A field earmarked for recreation - which borders the planned housing site - is now viewed as the preferred option as an alternative route in, but it would result in the boarded-up council houses being demolished.

Coun Fielding said: “I am calling on the council to cancel these plans altogether before it is too late in order to retain these two valuable council houses as well as keeping the park, sports pitch and children’s play area for this community instead of building on it, which is its declared intention.

“In 2018 Persimmon Homes submitted a planning application for homes on land adjacent to the M1 between Keresforth Road and junction 37 but due to difficulties in providing suitable access to the site, the application was never determined. Persimmon appear not to be interested in using this access and from what I understand may be losing interest in the site altogether.”

Plans show there will be 23 two-bedroom, 89 three-bedroom and 34 four-bedroom homes if the application is approved, with five per cent of the 146 being classed as ‘affordable housing’.

A Section 106 allocation - money put aside by developers for loss of amenity - includes £764,506 towards education provision and £222,093 for recreation, while an acoustic barrier will separate the site from the M1.

Coun Fielding added: “Residents are now only just realising that the council’s determined to build on this park, which is the only one that serves this large housing estate. It is clear that no effective consultation has taken place about the loss of yet another park, just half a mile from Penny Pie Park which is due to be turned into a road junction.

“There is no justification for any council to build on its parks in the way this local authority is planning to do, and it is shameful that they are so determined to build on this park that they could not wait for planning permission.

“They are scarce four-bedroom council houses which have been empty now for almost a year, a year in which two families in need of a decent home could have lived in them.

“When the council quite rightly puts pressure on private landlords for having empty properties, this is not a good example.”

According to the council, there are more than 8,200 people waiting to be housed.

Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson, said: “The land between South Road and the motorway sliproad is allocated for housing.

“The Persimmon Homes application submitted last year, which proposes to access part of the housing allocation from Bark Meadows, has not progressed because of concerns regarding the access. Alternative accesses are therefore being considered and one option includes taking access from South Road.

“On this basis, Berneslai Homes have relocated tenants from a pair of semi-detached dwellings.

“Should the council decide to take forward a residential scheme on the land we own, we will expect public consultation to be undertaken before a planning application is submitted so that the local community has an opportunity to have their say at an early stage in the process.”

Popular park fenced off by council

A PARK which will lose some of its land to make way for a new one-way road system has been fenced off by Barnsley Council.

Penny Pie Park, bordered by Dodworth Road and Pogmoor Road, has been the scene of regular protests from campaigners opposing the council’s scheme.

Despite a vigil being held there as recently as Thursday last week, workers have arrived at the site in preparation for the works needed to create the road - meaning it’s now out of bounds for users and will remain so for ‘more than a year’.

David Shepherd, service director for regeneration and culture at the council, said: “For some time the council has explored options to ease existing congestion and improve air quality along Dodworth Road.

“Plans for the scheme were approved at a planning board meeting in December last year and will deliver a long-term solution that will provide enough capacity for the current volume of traffic as well as accommodating the future business and housing growth aspirations of Barnsley.

“We anticipate that the scheme works will take more than a year to deliver as we need to factor in the timing of the landscaping and tree planting to make sure that this takes place during the planting season to maximise survival rates.

“We thank residents for their cooperation and patience while we deliver the scheme and we will try and keep inconvenience to a minimum.”

Flooding causes new concerns over plans

VACANT sites which have been formally adopted for future development by Barnsley Council must be looked at again after many were hit by recent flooding, campaigners have urged.

Darton, which was affected by the worst floods in a decade earlier this month when the River Dearne burst its banks, has come under the spotlight this week due to a planned 73-home development on land off Darton Lane.

More than 100 concerned locals attended an urgent public meeting at Staincross Working Men’s Club last week to discuss the village’s flooding woes and the plan for the site submitted by its applicant, Church Commissioners for England.

Planning documents state that the site - described as a wildlife haven by locals - has no history of being affected by floods but campaigners posted videos on social media to show just how much of an issue flooding was in the aftermath of the torrential rain on November 7.

The site has been designated for development purposes within Barnsley Council’s local plan, which sets out future housing and business growth up to 2033, leading to many vacant sites being allocated for development.

Richard Denton, who is leading the campaign group, said: “A re-think on sites identified in the local plan needs to happen and the recent flooding events shows exactly why.

“The planning process is heavily weighted towards developers as the council is under pressure to deliver housing across the borough, but clearly it’s a flawed system as the Darton Lane site supposedly has never experienced flooding.

“That’s absolutely incorrect - it was badly affected earlier this month, much of it was underwater and it’s not the first time it’s happened.

“We are determined to have our voices heard and to expose how this will do harm to our environment, infrastructure and neighbourhood.”

An original consultation on the plans ended on November 4, but that has been extended until today to allow more residents to have their say.

Coun Steve Hunt, who represents the Darton East ward for the Liberal Democrats, added: “When it becomes clear that sites are unsuitable, the council should look elsewhere. I have been contacted by residents who are extremely concerned, like I am, about this development and the negative impact it will have on the area.

“Flooding is a growing issue each year as we see more extreme weather events. There has been a couple of flooding events on Darton Lane, adjacent to the proposed site, already this year before the main one earlier this month.

“This site is totally unsuitable for housing and it should be left alone.

“I understand that due to a growing population there is a need for more housing in Barnsley, but all plans submitted should be properly scrutinised and must take into account the views of local people.”

The government has come under increasing pressure from leaders in Barnsley and South Yorkshire to do more to ensure that developers do not build inappropriate housing in areas at high risk of flooding.

Figures obtained from the Environment Agency through a Freedom of Information request made by the Labour Party, suggest the body may not be able to protect new developments from flooding.

Dan Jarvis, campaigning for re-election in Barnsley Central, which covers Darton, told the Chronicle: “Having very carefully considered the detail of this planning application, I have concluded that the proposed development of land to the south of Darton Lane would do more harm than good for the village and surrounding area.

“I also believe that it will have a detrimental effect on existing residents’ quality of life and place a considerable burden on already stretched local services.

“We do need to ensure that there is a sustainable supply of housing - including homes that are genuinely affordable - to meet the needs of local people.

“However, this must always be carefully balanced against the impact of developments upon the local community and the need to protect our vital green spaces.”

Penny Pie Park details are released

DETAILS of exactly how Barnsley’s Penny Pie Park is expected to appear after a new one-way traffic gyratory is constructed on the site have been made public as part of a planning application – along with the measures intended to protect trees which will remain on the site.


The decision to put a new road through the park, at the Dodworth Road crossroads between the town centre and Junction 37 on the M1, were highly controversial with a high profile campaign to fight the development.


Barnsley Council argued there was no other viable option, having considered around three dozen alternatives, and pressed ahead with the plan eventually winning council backing and then getting necessary planning permission.


A further application has now been made, with proposals for a detailed layout of the park and how measures to protect neighbours from noise and to safeguard the trees which will remain in place, outlined.


The application also shows a proposed location for a wildflower meadow, play facilities including a ‘MUGA’ games area and access for fairground vehicles – suggesting the council envisages the central area of the park, which will be surrounded by road, as remaining suitable for the travelling fairs which use the existing park.


A three metre high acoustic fence is expected to be installed along the perimeter of one side of the development to shield nearby homes from noise, with other measures taken elsewhere on the site.


Trees to be protected would be protected by ‘exclusion zones’ with fencing to ensure they were safe from damage above ground and also to their root systems.


Specimens expected to be removed as part of the development near to trees scheduled to remain would be subject to similar protection, until work to remove them commenced.


While 58 trees on site are set to remain, more than 70 will be removed but the council is intending to replace them with more than 100 new examples.


A decision on whether to approve the plans will be made later.


The new ring road is regarded by council planners as necessary to keep traffic flowing on one of the key routes in and out of the town centre, along with the M1 link.


Their plan avoids the need to lose any homes in what is a densely populated area but objectors have argued the scale of congestion is not as severe as council assessments suggest and that other avenues for controlling traffic density have not been sufficiently explored.


  • Provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service. 


Cash secured for properties

CASH secured by Barnsley Council from developers behind new housing estates across the borough will be injected into buying up emptying properties.


The project, approved by ruling cabinet members on Wednesday, will be run by Barnsley Council and Berneslai Homes’ investment and regeneration team, alongside Barnsley Community Build (BCB).


Section 106 money – which is set aside by developers as part of their planning permission – totalling £450,000 will be ploughed into the scheme, which has identified six derelict homes.


It will be added to by two other empty homes funding streams which collectively give a further £150,000, taking the overall total to £600,000.


Since April 2018, more than 300 properties have been brought back into use by the council, according to Coun Tim Cheetham.


He added: “This programme is a great opportunity to work with partners to continue reducing the number of long-term empty properties.


“We’ve had a good amount of properties brought back into use and this is an enhancement on that, allowing BCB apprentices to have valuable on-the-job training.”

Fast food store closed for refurbishment

A FAST food restaurant has closed for refurbishment.


 McDonald’s at Wentworth Business Park, Tankersley, closed on Sunday to allow building works and second drive-thru lane to be installed. 


The store will reopen on December 10 at 11am.

Changes planned to bridge

THE design of Barnsley town centre’s landmark new bridge will be changed as part of a raft of alterations which are due to be approved next week.


Market Bridge, which is being funded by both Barnsley Council and Network Rail at a cost of £5.6m, will take people from the new Market Gate car park over the railway line to the pedestrian area in front of the transport interchange’s main entrance.


Changes – which will be decided on by planning board members on Tuesday – include increasing the bridge’s glass parapet height from 1.2m to 1.4m, a cable support structure to connect the bridge’s pylons and an elevated pylon base.


The original plan to use an inclined lift has been shelved due to budget constraints, and in its place will be a vertical version which will use two 26-person lifts capable of taking bicycles, wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility scooters.


A planning report said: “The bridge structure would be approximately 105m long when taking into account the steps and lifts with the deck itself being just over 60m in length.


“There would be the option of accessing the bridge deck via stairs or a vertical lift that would be fully enclosed. Its width varies from a maximum of 8.8m at the bottom of the steps to 5m along the deck.


“The pylon structure would serve to identify the bridge as a local landmark. The pylon is proposed to be 36m tall above the existing ground level, which would make the bridge the tallest structure in this part of the town centre, including the new buildings that are to be built as part of the Glass Works development, where it would be 8m higher than the new cinema.”


The plans also addressed worries regarding the temporary bridge and the number of users during busy events.


It has had to close before and after Barnsley FC home matches as it cannot safely accommodate the number of people needing to use it, with a diversion via Eldon Street North in place.


Sarah McHale, the town centre major projects officer, added: “The design has not changed drastically, but on the old design the sides of the bridge were about the height of a person.


“To enable cycling, we had to raise them higher. We’ve done a lot of work to make sure that people can see their route over the bridge.


“Things have been calculated to ensure that the bridge can take the capacity of people on the busiest football match days for example.”


Market Bridge is expected to be completed by late 2021.

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