Rally which would have seen closure of 50 South Yorkshire roads cancelled by organisers

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A controversial road rally which would have seen the closure of 50 roads across Barnsley has been cancelled by the organisers.

Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club requested the closures in order for a road rally to take place on Sunday 10 December but locals said they were 'horrified' and feared for the safety of their horses.

The event would have required the closure of a number of roads in the Penistone East and Penistone West wards, which Barnsley Council was set to approve today.

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However, Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, told today's cabinet meeting that the event has been cancelled by the organisers.

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"The organisers have informed us that they have now cancelled the event, so that item now is therefore being withdrawn," he told the meeting.

The motor club said that the rally would have comprised of four special stages using minor roads in predominantly low populated areas. The loop of stages will be run twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Resident Rose Guest told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that people living around the road closures were 'horrified' by the disruption, and added that "horses in particular will be traumatised by the noise of more that 100 cars flying past very close to them at high speed."

Ms Guest added that "businesses had been forced to close".

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‘We have worked with the organisers of the rally over the past ten days since the route was announced and raised issues of various kinds, from serious safety concerns regarding property on the routes, to severe disruption to local businesses and concern for livestock and horses.

"Organisers appear to have taken our concerns seriously and whilst we are pleased that the event has now been cancelled, it is a pity that we had not been fully informed throughout the process so that solutions may have been found which would have enabled the rally to go ahead.”

Organisers said the rally would "create a substantial revenue for hotels and hospitality", and be "a major spectator attraction for both local residents and motorsport enthusiasts from a wider area".

A spokesperson for Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club said: "In light of a number of objections submitted to the local authority this week, we have made the decision to cancel the first ever South Yorkshire Stages Rally, due to take place on 10th December 2023.

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"We are committed to community engagement for this event and have taken seriously the concerns raised by some of the residents in the area.

"We would like to thank all of our supporters including the volunteers, residents, out-of-town visitors, Barnsley Council, other key organisations and our sponsor who have supported our planned event, and we are sorry to disappoint those who were looking forward to it.

"We are extremely proud to have been involved in developing this project, which would have put Barnsley and Penistone on the international motorsport map."

The rally had gained support from MP Miriam Cates, Barnsley Council and Penistone Town Council.