Homes and industry development in Barnsley will feature urban park and woodland

Barnsley's MU1 development site, dissected by Higham LaneBarnsley's MU1 development site, dissected by Higham Lane
Barnsley's MU1 development site, dissected by Higham Lane
Decisions have still to be made over how new woodland tracts and other open spaces are managed when a major new development of housing and industry goes ahead in Barnsley.

It has emerged the authority could investigate the possibility of handing responsibility over to the Land Trust, a not for profit environmental body, rather than leaving it to developers to make arrangements at the expense of householders who will move into the 1700 new homes to be created.

It is now accepted practice that responsibility for public open spaces rests with residents on new estates, but some have seen the maintenance charges imposed by developers or the businesses used to manage the sites soar.

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Coun Dave Griffin, who represents the Penistone West ward has dealt with complaints from residents in that area who have found themselves burdened with charges which, they believe, represent poor value for the services provided.

Barnsley Council has taken some steps to try to control what happens but Coun Griffin has taken an interest in the major development which will take up fields bounded by Gawber, Higham and Barugh Green, the so-called MU1 area.

The size of that means it will include substantial tracts of open space and consultations have now begun to work out how the best potential from the area can be achieved.

Coun Griffin said he had attended a public session where it had been confirmed decisions about managing those sites still had to be made.

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He said: “I had some interesting discussions with council officers and the landscape architects, but no decision has been made yet.

“They mentioned the possibility of something like the Land Trust taking ownership of the woodland and open space they have put into this scheme.

“It would not be council land but would solve the problem my residents feel, when they are dealing with a distant maintenance contractor, which is difficult to work with.

“I intend to have a conversation with the Land Trust, but it doesn’t appear they look after communal land in the middle of housing developments as such, more land that may become a park,” he said.

Plans for MU1 appear to include a new urban park, he said.

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Coun Griffin now intends to pursue the issue within Barnsley Council to try to find fresh ways of maintaining open land which put residents’ needs at the forefront of the arrangement, rather than the convenience of developers.