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'Ground breaking' housing scheme for disabled and carers wins approval

Just the ticket: This redundant railway station office will be converted to a new home on a disabled living complex.
Just the ticket: This redundant railway station office will be converted to a new home on a disabled living complex.
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An innovative new development of housing aimed at providing homes for the disabled and their carers has been given planning permission in a Barnsley village – though councillors have been warned there is no legal obligation to actually make the properties available to those who need care.

The old ticket master’s office at Elsecar railway station will be remodelled to provide one house under the scheme, with a strip of land alongside the station used to provide a total of 14 homes, including apartments, bungalows and houses.

The intention is that disable residents will live in some of the homes, with their carers occupying others and the expectation is that they will be screened to ensure the homes are occupied by those with a suitable set of needs.

The site was ‘safeguarded’ land, meaning Barnsley Council had it set aside for development at some point in the future and the size and layout of the site has been deemed suitable by planning officials, with just one resident in the area complaining that it would have an adverse impact on her home.

Barnsley Council’s planning board, which approved the scheme, heard that developer Mario Monfredi had worked closely with professionals in the disability sector and had put the project together using the input they had provided.

It was also expected there would be close liaison with Berneslai Homes, the council’s management company for its social housing, to give them nomination rights for those who would occupy the new homes.

But councillors were told by their planning experts that the authority would not enforce the disability living element of the scheme, that instead the site was regarded as suitable for housing under conventional circumstances.

That meant the planning department did not intend to secure that element of the development.

Coun Mick Stowe told the meeting: “Looking at the proposals and the support we have for our diverse communities, I see Elsecar being ground-breaking.

“I like the partnership model with Berneslai Homes to ensure we have some sensitivity about people moving onto the site,” he said.