It is hoped open ground at the centre of a historic legal wrangle could finally be incorporated into Penistone’s showground in a move which would end a decade-old impasse.
When regeneration work took place in the centre of town, including the construction of the Tesco store, the intention had been to incorporate an area of land called The Paddock into the showground, to compensate for land lost to the development.
But although the land was actually bought by developers Dransfield Properties it was never used because another firm, Yorkshire Land, already had a legally-binding option to buy the site – with the intention of developing it to provide bungalows for the disabled and elderly.
Terms for a sale to Dransfield Properties could not be agreed and a further complication emerged with the area being deemed urban green space, meaning it was unlikely to gain planning permission for the intended homes.
It has stood unused since that situation reached a stalemate around 2008 and although Yorkshire Land has offered it for use by Penistone Show – the biggest annual event on the showground – in recent years that has been declined due to technical difficulties.
However, Coun Andrew Millner has now raised the prospect of the site being consumed into the showground under a Section 106 agreement, where developers make a contribution to the community to offset the impact of their work.
He has a long-standing ambition to see the land brought into public use and believes Barnsley Council’s forthcoming Local Plan could provide an opportunity.
That document, expected to be adopted as council policy in the next few months, earmarks the sites deemed suitable for development as homes or job creation sites over a period running into the 2030s.
Assuming the plan is adopted in its current draft form, it involves the construction of hundreds of houses on a large site off Wellhouse Lane in Penistone, which would be a Yorkshire Land development.
That would attract a Section 106 agreement and Coun Millner would like to see Yorkshire Land submit The Paddock as part of any settlement.
In addition to belatedly making up for the land lost from the showground site when Tesco was built, it would also ensure the bonus gained – or at least part of it – from the new development was in Penistone for the benefit of the community.
There has been recent concern over whether money earmarked for improvement work or affordable homes from new developments in the district is actually spent there, or elsewhere in the borough.
Coun Millner said: “I am hoping one day it may be transferred to Barnsley Council to be incorporated into the show field.
“This has taken since 2006, it is something I would get very excited about. My understanding is that if he (Steven Green, of Yorkshire Land) gets permission for that land, he would be inclined to release the green space under Section 106.
“It is all ifs, nothing definite,” he said.