New housing plan for old pit site

Decision time: Planners meet at Barnsley Town Hall
Decision time: Planners meet at Barnsley Town Hall
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The future of a former colliery site once earmarked for commercial development and then turned over to housing could finally be decided after initial plans to build homes stalled in the recession.

Goldthorpe colliery, near Barnsley, closed with the demise of the mining industry and land used as part of that industry was identified as an area to create new jobs by Barnsley Council and they rejected plans to put housing on the site.

That resulted in a planning appeal, which was successful partly because the council redrew its policy on regenerating the area, with a Goldthorpe Masterplan, while it was being considered.

But the homes were never built as the country went into recession and the planning permission to develop the site lapsed.

That could now change, with a fresh planning application with a developer expecting to put around 125 homes on the site.

However, there is resistance from residents in the area and 24 have written to Barnsley Council to raise objections before a decision is made.

Council planners also accept that the figure of 125 new homes is unlikely to remain at that level, because it is lower than the expected number of houses expected to be accommodated on a site of that size.

Under the now lapsed planning application, 190 homes could have been built.

Because the current application is ‘outline’, or intended to set the principal that the site can be developed, more detailed plans would be considered later, if the current one is approved.

It has also already been established by the council that they would not want the ‘affordable housing’ which now has to be offered by developers on large sites, at that location.

Instead, they would ask for money from the developer to provide homes elsewhere in the town for those who struggle on the conventional housing market.

Objectors have raised concerns including a lack of demand for housing in the district, based on the number of empty homes existing there and the loss of what has become regarded as green space and recreational land.

Some have suggested empty properties should be brought back into use, rather than building new and there are concerns that having more new homes in the district could damage existing property values.

The council’s planners are recommending councillors approve the scheme when they meet to decide on Tuesday.

The site is already earmarked for housing in the council’s long-term plans for housing and if it was not developed, an alternative would have to be found to keep numbers up.

The council also has to consider other legal obligations which weigh in favour of the current application, including the fact that the district is short of housing land.