Residents-only parking permits suggested for every street within 15 minutes of Barnsley Hospital
A huge residents-only parking area – covering every street with a 15 minute walk of Barnsley Hospital – is being suggested as part of a package of measures to control traffic and the pollution it creates in that area.
Council chiefs are to meet in the middle of November to discuss proposals put forwards by councillors representing the Old Town area, which includes the hospital and surrounding streets in the Gawber and Pogmoor districts.
They have already called in a transport expert from the Sheffield City Region, the overarching body for South Yorkshire which has Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis as Mayor, who is expected to provide some input.
Other proposals include creating more walking routes to the hospital and setting up a shuttle bus service to ferry patients, staff and visitors conveniently between the town centre transport interchange and the hospital.
Councillors also want to work with the hospital to try to reduce the impact of the organisation which, they believe, has outgrown its site with more than four decades of development since it was opened.
Coun Phillip Lofts suggested moving the hospital’s administrative functions to town centre offices, a move which would free up space, potentially help reduce congestion and provide a boost for businesses which could benefit from increased footfall.
He said a meeting was planned for mid-November involving Coun Chris Lamb, a member of the ruling Cabinet and Paul Castle, a senior officer with responsibility for the issues involved.
Earlier this summer the Old Town councillors declared an ‘environmental/clean air emergency’ in their ward, due to pollution levels creeping towards levels recognised as being dangerous.
Since then they have worked to formalise evidence, using statistics gained from the hospital through Freedom of Information requests and work by council statisticians.
Their results suggest the area is massively under-provided with parking for current hospital needs and money is having to be spent to try to keep residential areas clear, through Traffic Regulation Orders, the legal process needed before yellow lines and other restrictions can be installed.
Already £6,000 has been spent on one street, with plans for more yellow lines in Warner Road at a similar cost, from a budget of council cash allocated to be spent on improving the neighbourhood.
Coun Lofts said repeating such moves was not sustainable, with the suggestion of a wide-reaching residents only scheme the best way to discourage traffic from the immediate area and encourage the use of more sustainable transport.
The aim, he said, was to work with Barnsley Hospital to find solutions to help improve the environment and make residential areas around the hospital more desirable.
“Taking cars off pavements, for instance, would be a huge step forwards. Less through traffic and no cars on the pavements would make what is a desirable area now even more desirable,” he said.
He acknowledged that a shuttle service would involve the public authorities working with bus operators, but suggested it could be successful in the same way colliery ‘paddies’ picked up miners in the days of the colliery industry.
“That would have to be co-ordinated around shift patterns, but when we had the pits and ‘paddies’, we did exactly that,” he said.