The council, whose planning board awarded permission for the controversial scheme off Dodworth Road before Christmas, had a statutory obligation to consult with the public as its plan impacts Penny Pie Park, land designated as public open space.
More than 2,700 people signed a petition against the new road, while another 105 objections were submitted as part of the land appropriation consultation which was required as part of the greenspace - a total of 1.133 hectares - will become highway.
The long-running battle appeared to have ended on Wednesday when cabinet members, who were watched by campaigners at Barnsley Town Hall, unanimously voted in favour of the scheme and said its use could be altered.
The council has not yet identified a start date for the major project, which will result in a loop road being created, but campaigners have vowed to continue their fight and have set their sights on securing a High Court date.
Coun Hannah Kitching, who backed the campaigners, told the Chronicle the council had ‘failed its people’ by ‘not
“The short-term aim is to raise cash for legal fees so we can pursue a judicial review - the council identified Penny Pie Park as public open land in its local plan (a document which sets out future growth and land uses) just seven months ago and now they’ve decided to backtrack on that.
“They’ve been the judge and jury in this case. They had to prove that there was a case to alter its land so it could be used for highway purposes - they’ve simply not done that and ignored several thousand people in the process.
“Other councils are investing in active travel and greener transport options, but our council is building bigger roads in front of their biggest secondary school, Horizon Community College.
“Hundreds of their kids currently walk home across Penny Pie Park and soon they will have to cross six lanes of traffic.
“They’re also putting a children’s play area next to a huge traffic system, increasing their exposure to air pollution. I’m not surprised with the decision but I am saddened and frankly disgusted.
“They should be utterly ashamed for appearing to not care about the environment, nor the health and wellbeing of our children. We feel like we’ve got a good case, especially thanks to the council’s own Local Plan’s contents, and we won’t stop until the diggers arrive.”
Improvements to nearby Pogmoor and Sugden’s recreation grounds will be made by the council, while Penny Pie Park’s playing equipment will be re-sited elsewhere on its land.
As campaigners held a last-ditch protest outside the town hall in a bid to sway members’ minds, Peter Giles, of the Save Penny Pie Park action group, slept outside the venue on Tuesday night.
Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said: “It’s clearly controversial and there’s no getting away from that - the campaigners have been determined and resilient and we recognise the objections raised.
“It’s been the subject of many debates by both the cabinet and planning department and while there’s been a lot of objections, there’s also been lots in favour.
“The trees which will be lost will be replaced, and other greenspaces near the site will be improved. Dodworth Road is a major route into the town centre and for years something has needed to be done.
“It was never going to be an easy decision but if we did not decide to act this would impact the wider economy. Congestion will continue to grow and the 36 other options we looked at were ruled out for various reasons.”