Road safety concerns over housing plan near busy crossroads
A decision on whether to allow planning permission for an estate of new homes near a busy crossroads in a Barnsley village has been deferred by councillors who want highways officials to try find an alternative access to the site.
Members of Barnsley Council's planning board made a site visit to the land, currently a field, off Halifax Road in Thurgoland before being given full details of how the access road to around 25 new homes would emerge onto the A629 a short distance from crossroads at the centre of the village.
An independent assessment of the road layout was conducted as part of the application process and found there were no safety concerns which would justify declining the application.
But councillors, who had heard objections raised by Thurgoland Parish Council chairman Bob Blythe, were unconvinced and asked officials to make further investigations into whether alternative access arrangements could be used for the site.
The council's head of planning, Joe Jenkinson, had told councillors they would seek the introduction of a '˜safety gate' to warn approaching drivers of the new junction on Halifax Road, though no details had yet been confirmed about what form that would take.
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He said: 'You would not normally have an independent road safety audit. The evidence is clear on this. This junction is deemed to be acceptable.
'it would be very difficult as an authority to go to appeal arguing against an independent road safety audit.'
Coun Caroline Makinson said she wanted to see 'more meat on the bones' of the additional safety proposals and suggested deferring the decision, which was agreed.
Coun Dave Griffin had told the meeting he believed the development would end up as the equivalent of a controversial housing development at Chapel Lane, Penistone, where there had been difficult to resolve problems over traffic.
'In terms of this development, for most local people it will look absolutely daft that the access where it is situated.'
Coun Blythe told the meeting that traffic waiting at the lights backed up beyond the location for the junction at busy times, meaning cars wanting to leave the estate would also back up as a result as people left for work.
He also said cars accelerated away from the lights when they were green, meaning vehicle speeds were often beyond the 30mph limit by the time they reached that point.
The parish council had been struggling for years to get improved speed reduction measures introduced in the village because of concerns surrounding traffic, he said.
Coun John Wilson, who represents the area and sits on the planning board, said: 'I cannot sit here and look at this access and be comfortable, it is so near the very busy junction in the centre of Thurgoland.
'When there is little traffic around, traffic coming through a green light is going at a far greater speed than 30mph.
'There is no time to take notice of a '˜gateway' feature,' he said.