Councillors step in to assist residents as plans for major housing development are revised
Revised plans have been submitted for a major new housing development in Wombwell but local councillors are still waiting to see details of how highways experts would expect roads to cope with extra traffic and how much cash the site would produce to be spent in the area.
Playing fields from the old Wombwell High School have stood vacant for years but have been included as an area for development in Barnsley Council’s Local Plan, a blueprint for housing and other developments which will remain in place until the early 2030s.
That means development of some sort is now inevitable and builders want to put 229 new homes, along with an additional primary school, on the site, off Gypsy Lane.
When plans were first announced, residents in the area raised various concerns, including how roads in the area would cope with additional traffic and how the site itself would be accessed, along with some worries about existing homes being overlooked.
Updated plans have now been submitted and Coun Daniel Griffin, who represents the area, said some significant changes had been made, including the replacement of what were originally planned as two and a half storey houses with bungalows, to answer questions of overlooking where the site slopes.
Because it is a major development, the site will generate a large income for the council through ‘section 106’, an agreement where money has to be paid to help mitigate the impact of having more residents in the area.
Details of that arrangement still have to be completed, said Coun Griffin, along with the latest assessment from the council’s highways team to explain how the road network could cope with new traffic levels.
However, he is now planning widespread consultation work in the area – beyond that carried out as a legal duty under planning legislation – which will include sessions to assist those wanting to write letters of comment, but unsure of how to use the system.
It is proposed to make a paper copy of the plans available at a public building in the area and councillors also expect to embark on a major door-knocking exercise, to listen to residents’ concerns and observations as well as delivering hundreds of letters.
The objective was to ensure as many people as possible who wanted their voices heard were able to do so, he said.
Developing the site was important in ensuring there was an adequate housing supply in the district, as well as providing a much-needed school, he said.
One of the changes to the plan is proposed site for the new school.
“There is no easy answer, we are in desperate need of homes,” said Coun Griffin, “We are trying to find a compromise”.
“We don’t have the full picture, we are still waiting for suggestions for managing traffic, which is the biggest issue, and the compensation the community will get for the loss of the green space. They are two big issues for us,” he said.