Housing scheme which fails to meet financial benchmarks recommended for approval in Penistone

A planned housing development which has attracted widespread objections and will not make enough profit to meet the financial obligations Barnsley Council normally expects is being recommended for approval.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14 May, 2019, 17:24
Concern: Traffic at nearby Bridge End was raised as an issue by objectors

Barnsley Council’s planning board meets on Tuesday May 21 and will hear details of a scheme to put houses on open land off Saunderson Road in Penistone, which has generated concerns from residents, Penistone Town Council and a Barnsley Councillor who represents the area.

Under planning rules, the council would normally expect 30 per cent of the new homes to be given over to ‘affordable housing’, with payments made to cover the additional stress on the education system from putting more families into the area, alongside costs for issues such as providing more green space, to protect the environment for those living in the area.

However, planning board members will be told the objections do not warrant rejecting the application and that the council accepts there is too little profit in the scheme to meet all the financial obligations, which are covered under a scheme called Section 106, in full.

It has been calculated the 28 homes suggested for the site would produce a need for ten new school places, costing £160,000 to provide.

But instead of giving over 30 per cent of the new homes for affordable use, Barnsley Council has conducted an appraisal of the development and will accept six homes for that use.

There has been longstanding concern among some in the Penistone district that affordable housing has repeatedly not been provided in that district in the past, with the local authority allowing affordable homes to be provided elsewhere in the borough as an alternative.

Rules were recently changed, with a demand for 30 per cent of new developments to be earmarked for affordable housing in the Penistone district, compared to much lower percentages elsewhere in the borough, to try to address the problem of high property prices.

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The site is included in Barnsley’s recently adopted Local Plan, meaning it has been agreed in principle that it can be used for housing.

At present, it provides a green space and a report to planning councillors accepts that Penistone does not meet accepted standards for such sites, but argues that because the land features in the Local Plan, a compensation payment of £100,000 to improve other green space is an acceptable solution.

Originally, it had been planned to put 24 houses on the site and that generated 20 letters of objection, with another seven letters going in to the council when the figure went up to 28 homes.

Complaints included the loss of green space, insufficient affordable housing, increased traffic, flood risk and potential drainage issues.

Coun Hannah Kitching raised several issues, including access from the estate onto the A628, traffic congestion at Bridge End and the impact of additional homes on schools in the area.

Penistone Town Council’s concerns were that the site was deemed to be a flood plain and development would have a negative impact on the road system in the area.