A ROW over plans to ‘decimate’ two playing fields to build a 146-home estate in what is being dubbed ‘Penny Pie Park 2.0’ will be thrashed out by Barnsley Council’s ruling cabinet members next month - more than a year since the controversial scheme was unveiled.

Persimmon Homes, the developer behind the planning application, outlined its bid for the land off Keresforth Road, Dodworth, in April last year but concerns over its preferred access route - via a cul-de-sac on Bark Meadows - have delayed a decision.

The cul-de-sac, which has just eight homes, was initially identified as the only viable route into the site as it’s bordered by the M1 motorway, a watercourse known locally as Dodworth Dike and another playing field designated as a recreation space off South Road.

The Chronicle understands the field earmarked for recreation - which borders the planned housing site - is being looked at as an alternative route in, something which residents compare to Barnsley Council’s controversial scheme to carve up nearby Penny Pie Park in order to create a new one-way road system.

Nigel Tonge, who has lived on Bark Meadows for almost 20 years, told the Chronicle: “The access is all wrong - a cul-de-sac should never be used as the main route into what would be an estate of 146 houses. The traffic to junction 37 of the M1 can be horrendous at times so it doesn’t bear thinking about the impact up to 200 more vehicles would have.

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“We’re told they are looking at using another access, through an adjacent recreation ground, meaning two fields which are popular with kids could be lost.

“We seem to be losing our playing areas, despite obesity levels rising.

“Penny Pie Park has been a big topic locally as much of its greenspace is being lost and this is the same - Penny Pie Park 2.0.

“The whole site is unsuitable as it’s been used by kids for as far back as I can remember, it’s rich with wildlife and it’s also too close to the motorway, but if it is to go ahead the access absolutely has to be altered.

“Strata, another developer, expressed an interest in the site a few years ago and having put on a few public meetings, they opted against it.

“Our young grandchildren come here every week. They play out together and that’s because it’s a safe area, one that’s free from danger.

“Why should my grandchildren have to stop playing out just because a greedy developer is wanting to opt for the cheapest route into the site? Barnsley’s air pollution is bad as it is so it would also be mindless to put 146 homes right next to a motorway.”

Ongoing concerns about the access will result in cabinet members discussing the application at Barnsley Town Hall next month - a rare move as usually housing-related matters go straight to its planning board.

Council leader Sir Steve Houghton told the Chronicle yesterday that the local authority’s planning bosses remain locked in talks with Persimmon.

“It’s been placed on the cabinet’s forward plan and it’s due to be discussed in July,” he added.

“There’s been concerns expressed about Persimmon’s preferred route into the site.

“It’s bordered by the M1 so that poses a problem, but there has to be a solution before a final decision can be reached.”

Plans show there will be 23 two-bedroom, 89 three-bedroom and 34 four-bedroom homes if the application is approved, with five per cent of the 146 being classed as ‘affordable housing’.

A Section 106 allocation - money put aside by developers for loss of amenity - includes £764,506 towards education provision and £222,093 for recreation.

A Persimmon statement said: “Access into the site is proposed to be taken from a proposed extension of Bark Meadows at the southern boundary of the site. In this way, the development will form a natural extension to the existing residential area.

“Subject to approval, we believe the development will provide an appropriate mix of living accommodation in a sought-after area, with the added benefit of being able to provide a number of sustainable betterments and planning gains.”