Road junction ‘way over capacity’ not grounds reject housing development nearby

A bottleneck junction at the heart of Penistone has traffic levels “way over capacity” at busy times, but planners have been told that does not provide the grounds to reject an applications to put new homes on a site nearby.

Growing traffic levels around the junction of the A628 and Bridge Street at rush hour periods have been a source of growing concern for residents in the town for several years.

Now a highways official has told councillors who make decisions on planning applications: “The problem with this junction is that it goes way over capacity, without any extra (traffic).

“Highways are looking at all sorts of possibilities now, as to how they can address that.”

Questions over traffic were raised when planning board members were asked to consider plans for new homes on a site off Talbot Road, which is accessed from Bridge Street.

Although it is accepted they will generate additional traffic at that junction, it is not regarded as enough to create grounds to reject an application.

“This is adding one or two cars to the back of the queue, it could not be described as severe,” they were told.

They approved outline planning permission for the site, which is likely to take around 30 new homes, or possibly more.

The site was earmarked for housing in Barnsley Council’s Local Plan, which was formally adopted in January, meaning it had already been found to be suitable for development.

Planning board members were concerned Talbot Road could become a ‘rat run’ for motorists wanting to reach Thurlstone Road from Bridge Street, while bypassing the traffic lights at Bridge End.

However, they were told a condition will be applied to the site to ensure there are barriers preventing through access.

An examination of traffic in the area has been completed, which shows vehicle speeds are low around that location.

New measures are expected to be used to help improve visibility, which could include new double yellow lines and moving a bus stop, to help with safety.

Pressure on the Bridge End junction could increase in future as, in addition to any general traffic growth, there are more sites for significant housing development in the Penistone district earmarked under the Local Plan.