Huge investment in public facilities on the way for communities across Penistone district
A play area will be refurbished, a community room added to a school and a church will be upgraded thanks to almost £1 million in contributions from housing developers.
They have all been required to make cash contributions under a system known as Section 106, to compensate for the impact new homes have on the communities around them.
Money now allocated to schemes in the Penistone area from those payments totals around £250,000, but crucially it has also been used as a lever to win offers of ‘match funding’ from other sources which more than triples the cash generated through Barnsley Council.
Additional investments total £640,000, meaning £890,000 will be spent on projects which would have been unlikely to proceed without Section 106 contributions to kick-start funding.
The investment will see improvements across the district, with projects earmarked for assistance regarded as some of the most important areas for new investment.
They include the refurbishment of a play area at Millhouse Green, costing £18,000, which will include new play facilities along with other improvements including seating and fencing to ensure the area is kept free from dogs.
The scheme is the result of work between Coun Dave Griffin and Millhouse Green Community Association, which has been going on for around a year. Section 106 funding has come from charges associated with the creation of a car park at St John’s School in Penistone.
Hoylandswaine will benefit from two projects, with £25,000 allocated to giving the parish church an internal revamp to make it suitable for multi-purpose use and a similar sum will go to the village primary school for a community room. The 106 cash is from money charged against the Cross Lane development and the church itself and the school’s parents’ group have also contributed to each scheme, respectively.
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A new multi games ‘MUGA’ structure will be provided for the community of Oxspring at a cost of £27,000, cash raised through 106 from a development in Cote Lane, Thurgoland.
The last of four phases of extending St John’s school in Penistone, a project which has added 210 pupil places, is also being supported with £68,000 raised from the Hartcliffe Meadows housing development.
That scheme will see six new classrooms created, along with a new entrance and more office space.
The Little Don Trail, which runs through the district and is to be upgraded to make it more suitable for outdoor exercise and relaxation, is to get £95,000 from Barnsley Council. The source of that 106 money has yet to be clarified, but it will be supported with £530,000 from the Sheffield City Region, with work due to start in the Autumn.
That will create one leg of the trail which is expected to cost £7.5m to complete.
Coun Griffin, who represents the Penistone West ward on Barnsley Council, said: “These are concrete examples of Penistone’s housing contributions being used in Penistone, contrary to popular belief.
“Furthermore, it is not always best to use the money at the closest location. A good example is Millhouse Green, which will not see any development over the next 15 years. Would we deny that improvement for 15 years? No,” he said.