Green light for state-of-the-art sports facility – but councillor says it is a ‘sad day’ for Hoyland

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A new purpose-built sports centre to replace a facility 900 metres away has been given the go-ahead – despite concerns about the loss of a public green space.

Hoyland’s Rockingham sports ground will be moved to a new purpose-built site after Barnsley Council’s planning committee granted approval, but residents have raised concerns about loss of green space, light and noise pollution and an increase in traffic.

Campaigners hoped that the existing facility would remain, and Barnsley Council denied breaching a historic covenant protecting the existing sports ground, which was gifted to miners by Earl Fitzwilliam of Wentworth Woodhouse.

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The scheme is part of Section 106 funding for the Evri distribution centre which opened last year.


A legal agreement 'required the relocation of the outdated and outgrown Rockingham Sports facility' as part of the development.

During today’s (November 21) planning meeting, councillor Andrew Wray, Independent representative for Rockingham, told the meeting that although the new sports facility would be “great”, the “voices of the residents hadn’t been taken into consideration”.

He dubbed it a “sad day” for Hoyland.

He told the meeting: “For the last 30 years it’s been neglected, some say purposefully, to allow this development to be allowed years later. Has the council let it out to fallow on purpose?

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“We are here to discuss approving the land for a multi-million-pound sports complex. There’s already a development of good standard, it’s called Rockingham.

“Why is this being sold off in the first place? Why is the council intent on taking all the green spaces from Hoyland Common?

“Losing this field, on the perimeter of a large housing estate has not gone down well with the community.

“Once developed, it won’t come back. This is a sad day for our community.”

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Councillor Nicola Sumner, Labour representative for Rockingham, voted against the plans.

Coun Sumner told the meeting that although a new state-of-the-art sports facility would be welcomed, the new site “has always been a key recreational area”

She raised concerns about the loss of a green space popular with dog walkers, and youngsters playing sports, and light ollution, especially for car park lights.

She said: “On such a substantial area, is astroturf the right answer? Is it best for us in terms of wildlife?”

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Planners say the relocation of the Rockingham Sports facility to this site,will “provide a new purpose-built community and sports facility to replace the existing building at Rockingham which is no longer fit for purpose”.

The new site will include a single-story building with a reception area, café, studio spaces, two full-size sports team changing rooms, changing rooms for sports officials, accessible changing rooms, and a floodlit artificial grass sports pitch.

Sixty-four car parking spaces will be provided, as well as an overspill car park for a further 30 vehicles.

Planners added that any noise impacts will be “acceptable”, and a condition will be imposed to limit the times that floodlighting can be used.

Their report said that the new site “is likely to reduce the incidence of anti-social behaviour as a result of organised activities on the site”.

The scheme was passed with just one vote against.