Green light for controversial road scheme as campaigners fight on

Campaigners hoping to stall plans for a one way traffic system on the site of an existing park have been dealt a blow with a Government decision that there will be no public inquiry into Barnsley Council’s decision to grant planning permission.

Monday, 18th February 2019, 15:45 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 15:47 pm
Blow: Campaigners have been told the Government will not 'call in' the decision to build a road on Penny Pie Park

Campaigners hoping to stall plans for a one way traffic system on the site of an existing park have been dealt a blow with a Government decision that there will be no public inquiry into Barnsley Council’s decision to grant planning permission.

However, they are now examining whether a judicial review could be possible.

That legal process could overturn the planning decision but success would involve demonstrating the original decision was wrong.

The plan to put a ring road in Penny Pie Park, at a bottleneck between the M1 and Barnsley town centre, has been highly controversial since consultations started last summer, with a highly vocal campaign to save the park which is seen as a valued public asset.

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However, planning permission has been granted but James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government was asked to consider ‘calling in’ the application for a decision by a planning inspector, which would have meant a public inquiry.

Barnsley’s Liberal Democrats have been among those trying to resist the development and have announced their “great disappointment” at the decision.

Barnsley Council has argued from the start that the scheme is the only viable way of controlling increasing traffic congestion, without losing houses or creating worse disadvantages than the scheme they have approved.

That was selected from around three dozen potential options and is necessary because, if nothing is done, traffic volumes will increase and lead to vehicles queuing back onto the M1, the authority has argued.

However, the Lib Dems have announced they are now working with the Save Penny Pie Park action group to continue attempts to stop the scheme progressing.

Peter Fielding submitted the call-in request and is to stand as a candidate in May’s local authority elections.

He said: “I have serious concerns about the impact of reduced air quality on local school children. 

“There is clear evidence that the levels of air pollution around Horizon College will increase significantly if the gyratory is built as planned and with the recent well publicised evidence of the effects of high levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and small particulates around schools on the health of children, if Barnsley Council proceed it would be an act of betrayal against our children.

“This scheme was promoted by Barnsley Council to reduce queueing on the M1 sliproads, reducing the supposed 26 minute journey time into town from the M1 and to reduce air pollution.”

Campaigners are concerned a gyratory at that location will be needed to cope with increased traffic from the development of a large swathe of land, earmarked for development under the council’s Local Plan, which was approved last month.

“The gyratory will not improve journey times, will not reduce queues and will not improve road safety. It will, however, mean that we lose a well loved local park, increase traffic levels, increase noise levels, increase air pollution and put the road safety of school children at risk,” he said.

Mr Fielding said: “We will not give up the fight to stop this act of municipal vandalism going ahead. Supported by the Lib Dems we are actively examining the process of a judicial review.”

Campaigners are also unhappy that South Yorkshire’s Mayor Dan Jarvis – also the Barnsley Central MP – is putting money into the scheme.