A decision is expected next week on whether to allow the construction of a “landmark” pedestrian bridge in Barnsley town centre to replace a railway crossing which will close in the Spring on safety grounds.
There have been longstanding concerns about the pedestrian crossing at Jumble Lane and it will be closed by Network Rail in March, with the company offering to contribute towards the imposing new structure proposed by Barnsley Council.
They want it to provide a safe pedestrian route in and out of the town centre at that location and also to exploit its distinctive design as a “landmark” feature of the overall town centre redevelopment, with the bridge allowing access to nearby new facilities including the Glass Works shopping and leisure centre, a new library and town square to be created nearby.
Council planners will make a decision when they meet on Tuesday and are being recommended by officials to approve the application, though there have been objections from Gala Bingo, which has premises nearby and Birdwell Wheelers cycle club, which has concerns that the bridge will make the town centre a less attractive destination for riders.
Planning officers have dismissed both complaints, highlighting that Jumble Lane rail crossing is to close under any circumstances.
A report to councillors states: “The new bridge is necessary in order to enable continued pedestrian access between this part of the town centre and the areas to the east of Kendray Street and Pontefract Road including the Metrodome and Oakwell.
“This is because existing level crossing is scheduled to be closed in March next year regardless of the outcome of this planning application.
“The site is also identified as a gateway site and a priority site for improvements to the public realm.
“The combination of the stature of the design of the bridge, its design features most notably the pylons, its facing materials and other enhancements to the surrounding area of public realm including the reconfigured and extended Interchange Square would ensure that the development would become a landmark feature.”