Row over Barnsley masterplan as council is accused of handing control to developers

A masterplan which will control the way a huge swathe of Barnsley is developed for housing and industry in future has been adopted by the council - but the process created a political argument.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 12:50 pm

Barnsley Council insist the masterplan, which sets down rules for how a large area of green space bounded by communities including Pogmoor, Gawber and Higham is developed will prevent a 'free for all' among the companies which will produce housing and jobs space on the site in future.

But the authority was accused of effectively handing control to developers for the site, which is one of many across Barnsley earmarked for development over the next 15 years.

A full meeting of Barnsley Council confirmed adoption of the masterplan, rejecting an amendment from Coun Peter Fielding which would have seen a major new link road into the site constructed at the start of the development, using public money, to ensure residents in the area were not affected by development traffic.

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The MU1 development site in Barnsley is current dissected by Higham Lane

He argued the full site may never be fully developed and as such, allowing developers to finance the new highway after work had started ran the risk of it never being built and said the plan: "Effectively hands over control of the development of a large area of Barnsley to developers."

As a council chamber argument developed, Coun Fielding was allowed by Mayor Coun Pauline Markham to speak at a point where members of the ruling Labour group wanted a vote on whether that should be allowed.

But she then stopped Coun Fielding from speaking after twice ruling that he had veered away from details of his amendment while addressing the meeting.

Meanwhile, Council leader Sir Steve Houghton insisted the masterplan - which is not a legal necessity - had been drawn up to protect the interests of residents.

The new road would have to be built after around 230 new homes had been built - around 15 per cent of the total allocated for the site, with developers also forced to pay the cost of a new school, which would have to be ready for occupation in the second summer of the development.