Council cash will be poured from one spending pot into another to clear the way for new traffic restrictions to be introduced in Penistone – although it is accepted there will be little likelihood of the rules being enforced if they are adopted.
The town has traffic congestion problems in several locations, including The Green, where residents want to see yellow lines installed to prevent inconsiderate parking around road junctions.
Residents have been campaigning for action for some time, though Barnsley Council no longer has the money available through its regular highways budget for such work and Penistone Area Council, a ‘mini council’ made up of the area’s borough councillors cannot finance the work through their budget, because projects they commission must benefit the whole area and not localised areas.
Instead, they have now agreed to transfer £20,000 of their budget for this year to the Penistone Ward Alliance, a body made up of councillors and others in the community, which has a different set of spending rules which means their budget can be spent on such schemes.
Transferring the money means the alliance will have enough in its funds to finance such a scheme this year, but it will still need a formal application to be made and to be approved, something which is ultimately done by a council officer.
Coun Hannah Kitching questioned whether the ward alliance’s members had the skills to make decisions on road safety issues, saying: “I don’t think the ward alliance should be involved in decisions about public safety, which is what traffic regulation orders come down to. It is completely different to putting a bench in a park.”
Coun John Wilson said: “The fundamental principle here is that they are not enforceable. Although I support this, it would be an open ended amount of money we would have to spend.
“If an objection came forwards (the the TRO) it would increase the cost.
“If it is so dangerous, why isn’t there money coming out of the formal highways budget?”
South Yorkshire Police have already taken an interest in parking problems in that area, but should double yellow lines end up being installed, officers no longer have the powers to issue tickets for such parking breaches, with those powers resting with council enforcement officers.
Some area councils in other parts of Barnsley have used private enforcement staff for parking duties, in addition to Barnsley Council’s own wardens, but such staff do not work in the Penistone district.