Pedestrian bridge suggested to help ease the impact of controversial ring road in Barnsley

A campaign is being planned for a new pedestrian bridge which would link three public green spaces following the installation of a new ring-road on the site of Penny Pie Park in Barnsley.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 5:28 pm
Updated Monday, 12th August 2019, 4:43 pm
Barrier: This railway line prevents access between Penny Pie Park and Pogmoor 'rec'

That park sits close to Pogmoor ‘rec’ and Sugden’s recreation ground but access between the three is cut by a single track railway line.

Now Dodworth Coun Neil Wright is hoping to securing the backing of Barnsley Council for a campaign to get a pedestrian bridge installed by Network Rail.

Although most of Penny Pie Park, off the Dodworth Road crossroads between the M1 and Barnsley town centre, will remain intact after the one-way road scheme is installed, much will become an island surrounded by the new carriageway.

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To counterbalance that, Coun Wright believes linking the three sites would provide a fresh set of choices for those who currently use the area for dog walking, exercise or as a meeting point.

He will raise the issue a meeting of Barnsley Council later this month, with the hope of securing backing from the authority, which he believes would add weight to a request for Network Rail to step in and help with the project.

Coun Wright was opposed to the ring road when it was first proposed and insists that opposition has not changed, but now the decision has been made to move forwards with the scheme he wants to ensure potential opportunities to make the most of the situation are not lost.

“I have never supported the scheme, but what we can’t do now is take our eye off the ball, or we could end up missing the bus,” he said.

“We should be saying, if you are going to do it then bring it on but do it on our terms and at least try to make something good out of something bad.”

At this stage no approaches have been made to Network Rail and Coun Wright wants to gauge the response from Barnsley Council to his proposals before starting to address the issue of funding the project.

Proposals for the ring road passed their last legal hurdle earlier this month when Barnsley Council’s ruling Cabinet agreed to swap land over to highways use at Penny Pie Park, though the Save Penny Pie Park action group have said they will take legal advice which may result in that decision being taken to Judicial Review.

Barnsley Council have always insisted the changes are needed to tackle increasing traffic congestion, which has grown substantially this century and is projected to reach the point where Barnsley bound vehicles could be left backing up onto the M1 in future if no changes are made.

The ring road was chosen as the most viable option from around 36 alternatives considered by the council, but planners were constrained by a lack of open space, restricting the opportunities to improve traffic flow.