Councillor backs petition against Royston development
A councillor has backed a campaign against a proposal to build almost 1,000 homes on former greenbelt land in Royston.
Resident Sarah Lambet, who lives close to the Lee Lane site, set up a Facebook page earlier this month in a bid to raise awareness amongst her neighbours of the Royston masterplan framework details.
Proposals to build a community of almost 1,000 homes and a new primary school on the land is currently at public consultation stage, although Sarah says she is worried it has not been widely publicised due to lockdown measures.
Although she lives within 250 metres of the site boundary, where the council says it sent letters to residents, Sarah says she did not receive a letter, nor did her neighbours.
Now, she is holding a weekly community information event every Saturday outside Royston's Manor Community Centre to give residents the chance to find out more about the development and to sign the petition against it if they wish.
Sarah said: “On June 20, a number of people turned up. I was pleased to see some elderly residents turn up, and they are one of the reasons I wanted to raise awareness."
Now, Coun Steve Hunt, member for Darton East, has backed the campaign.
He said: “The scheme is in a neighbouring ward to me, but I have become involved as I am concerned about the traffic that will be generated from the development and the knock-on effect it will have on neighbouring villages including Staincross and Mapplewell which I represent.
“Many of the commuters from the Lee Lane development, travelling North, are likely to access the M1 at Haigh and use Staincross Common and Windhill Lane.
“What road infrastructure improvements are planned here? It was stated by one of the consultants that traffic generation from the site has not been looked at in detail. I find it surprising this work was not done prior to such a sizeable site being included in Barnsley’s Local Plan.
“I have signed Sarah’s petition and took part in the virtual Q&A session that the council ran along with consultants.
“It is clear from speaking to Sarah and from the Q&A session that many Royston residents are concerned about the loss of precious green space and wildlife habitat.
“I understand the fields where it is planned to build these homes are prone to flooding. This would appear to be a recurring theme as the same issue exists on a development adjacent to Darton Lane which I am opposing. I was surprised to learn only 10 per cent of the houses are allocated as affordable.
"I understand many residents in Royston are unaware about this development, as the council has only notified by post residents within 250m of the boundary of the site. This may be the legal requirement, but it feels to me that the council should be doing far more to ensure all Royston residents are fully aware of these proposals.
“I also have to ask whether in a post-Covid19 world demand for these new homes will still exist? Surely it’s time for Barnsley Council to revisit the Local Plan.”
Sarah will will be at the Manor Court Community Centre on West End Avenue every Saturday from 9.30am-noon, until the consultation closes on July 15 when she will hand the petition into Barnsley Town Hall.
A council spokesman said: "The letter was issued to residents within 250m of the site boundary. This was in excess of 700 properties. The letters were issued to Royal Mail from June 2. We are aware of some potential issues with post around Royston, but have received no additional information that any letters have not been delivered.
"As part of the Local Plan process, traffic generation has been looked at in detail in order to confirm the principle of the site allocation.
"In developing the Masterplan Framework, further traffic modelling has not been undertaken by ARUP, our partners who were present at the live Q&A.
“It was a representative from ARUP who stated that they had not looked at traffic generation in detail as part of their commission, which is the case. When future planning applications are submitted for the site, the council will require the submission of a transport assessment which will assess the implications of the development on the highway network.
“Any necessary highways improvements will be secured where necessary as part of the approvals process. All transport implications were also considered in detail as part of the recent planning appeal.
“In terms of the doctors surgery, we are working closely with the clinical commissioning gruop so it can increase capacity should the need arise.
“The council worked with infrastructure providers throughout the local plan process to determine whether there was sufficient capacity within the existing infrastructure or whether new facilities are needed – no additional need was identified at this stage.
“Although it is not the council’s responsibility to deliver GP and dentist practices, we do need to ensure that when sites come forward, they have the necessary infrastructure in place to support that growth.
“It is therefore important we continue to work closely with CCG to make sure they are aware of the development and the potential timings so that they are able to identify any capacity issues and expand these provisions.
“We will be hosting a further live Q&A on transport, on Tuesday, June 30, from 6-7pm, which residents are invited to attend.”