School parking plan wins councillor’s praise

Objection: Leslie Labadie was among those with concerns about the impact of St John's school car park proposals
Objection: Leslie Labadie was among those with concerns about the impact of St John's school car park proposals
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A primary school has been praised for trying to solve traffic congestion problems by creating 29 new parking bays – even though that means taking up space currently occupied by a football pitch.

Traffic around St John the Baptist primary school in Penistone has been a longstanding problem and could get worse as it expands, meaning more teachers needing to park and increased numbers of parents in vehicles.

Its answer was to suggest a car park on an open green space, currently occupied by a small football pitch, close to the school’s grounds – a solution which has now been approved by councillors on Barnsley Council’s planning board.

Although there was support for the scheme, there were also objections from some residents and others concerned about the loss of green space and the potential for problems caused by creating a car park so close to homes on High Street.

The design was remodelled as a result, with a larger buffer zone between parking bays and the perimeter of the proposed car park.

Coun Robin Franklin said: “It must be the first school in the borough to look to address the problem we have at all schools; I am fully supportive.”

Coun Dave Griffin said he believed the design of the site had been “improved vastly” from the original plan.

The site is on Barnsley Council’s register of green spaces and as a result of its loss, the school will be required to pay £18,000 which will be available to help improve playgrounds elsewhere.

Councillors have asked that it is earmarked for work in the Penistone West ward, where the school is situated, though they have no control over that.