THE Campaign to Protect Rural England has thrown its weight behind the fight against controversial £4.3m plans to turn a Barnsley park into a giant roundabout.

CPRE South Yorkshire has submitted a formal objection to the plans to construct a traffic gyratory system next to the junction at Broadway, Dodworth Road and Pogmoor Road, which would see much of the popular Penny Pie Park lost, and what remains blighted by a new three-lane mini ring-road encircling a huge section of the green space.

Anne Robinson, from CPRE South Yorkshire, says it objects to the plan because it would destroy the integrity of a valuable green space and reduce opportunities for recreation and relaxation by local residents, and that it will ‘do nothing to reduce congestion along the A628 in the short or long term’.

“We are disappointed at BMBC’s approach which appears to have considered in depth only altered road layouts and traffic flows to address congestion at this junction,” she said.

“This is unacceptable. The problem of congestion should be addressed holistically, keeping an open mind as to both transport and non-transport solutions.”

It suggests park and ride, better walking and cycling links for new housing developments, a workplace parking levy, improved cycling infrastructure, lower speed limits and a much smaller roundabout option in just one corner of the park as possible alternatives.

“The proposal would destroy the integrity of Penny Pie Park, a well-used facility which on its eastern boundary can be accessed without crossing a road carrying traffic.

“With the gyratory flow roundabout in place the park would be divided into four parts, with the central part effectively becoming the central reservation of the roundabout noisy, polluted and with moving traffic on all sides.

“To reach it, families and children would have to cross three lanes of traffic moving in one direction at speed.

“The eastern corner would provide a much reduced area for facilities and amenity. These impacts would severely limit local people’s opportunities to enjoy green open space in safe surroundings and conflict with the emerging Local Plan policy GS1 for green space which aims to improve existing green space.”

Anne also claims the scheme would also conflict with another emerging Local Plan policy about developments on or next to ‘gateways’ into Barnsley like Dodworth Road.

“By destroying the integrity of Penny Pie Park the requirements of these policy criteria would be negated, and the townscape and approach along the A628 would be harmed.”

The planned development would see traffic from the motorway heading towards the town centre diverted through the park and around the new road system from the Broadway traffic lights, with no right turn into Broadway.

Traffic from Pogmoor Road which presently turns right at the lights towards the motorway, or goes straight on to Broadway, would also be diverted through the park and back onto Dodworth Road via the new gyratory.

Almost 2,000 people have now signed the online petition against the proposals. The deadline for people to submit comments as part of the planning process has now been extended to 5pm next Friday, September 7.

A spokesman for Barnsley Council said: “I can confirm that we have received feedback from CPRE on the planning application for A628 Dodworth Road/Broadway Junction Improvement.

“We have extended the planning consultation period to accommodate comments from interested parties until 5pm on Friday September 7.

“Following this, we’ll evaluate the points raised by CPRE along with any other comments received.”