Inspector throws out car park plan on safety concerns

Failed: An attempt to develop this site for parking has been rejected by an inspector
Failed: An attempt to develop this site for parking has been rejected by an inspector

A businessman has lost a planning appeal which could have seen a new car park created on land on the edge of Barnsley town centre – against the council’s wishes – had it succeeded.

Planners had rejected an application to use the land as space to park 120 vehicles because of concerns over its access and road safety, with applicant Wayne Hadfield taking the case to appeal.

But a planning inspector has dismissed that application, with multiple concerns about his plans to develop the site.

Access to the site is between two stone railway bridges on Old Mill Lane, which planning inspector Kevin Savage described as “a busy trunk road” and he found Barnsley Council’s concerns about how vehicles would get into, and then out of, the site justified.

The planning history of the site is complex, because it was earmarked by the council as a potential site for parking, as long ago as 2000 – though that was dependent on suitable access arrangements.

An application to create a car park there was rejected in 2015 and Mr Hadfield’s plan included a junction designed to accept only traffic approaching from one direction, with an alternative route out of the site using an access road owned by Barnsley College.

Mr Hadfield had suggested that in addition to the physical construction of the inward access, Barnsley Council could erect signs prohibiting right turners – something Inspector Kevin Savage regarded as an acknowledgement that the junction design in itself would not prevent such manoeuvres.

It was also possible drivers wanting to use the car park, but approaching the wrong way, could use junction mouths nearby to turn around, creating a further hazard.

Mr Savage’s findings also said Barnsley College had not been approached over any agreement to use their access road for car park traffic.

His ruling stated the council had: “Refused permission on the basis that there is no evidence of a right of way being secured over the college’s land for the site’s access and egress, nor a guarantee it would be available in perpetuity. “The appellant in response states that without the agreement of the adjoining landowner, any permission granted could not be implemented, and therefore no harm would arise to highway safety.

“Be that as it may, my attention is drawn to the objection from Barnsley College, which states clearly that permission has not been sought or given.

“In the absence of a viable exit via the college campus, the proposal would fail to provide a workable and safe system of access and egress, and this adds to my overall concerns.”