A planning application made by Premier Construction Group, relating to Lundhill Lane, Wombwell, has resurfaced having first been submitted in January, which includes some revisions to housing types on the 239-home estate following feedback from the public.
An original plan for a series of two-and-a-half storey houses was shelved in favour of bungalows as a direct response to overlooking concerns, while the school will be relocated to a ‘prominent site entrance’ position.
The site, which accommodated the playing fields for the old Wombwell High School, has stood vacant for years but has been included as an area for development in Barnsley Council’s local plan, a blueprint for housing and other developments which will remain in place until the early 2030s.
That means development of some sort is now inevitable and builders want to put the homes, along with an additional primary school, on the land.
However, residents raised various concerns, including how roads in the area would cope with additional traffic and how the site itself would be accessed.
One Wombwell resident, who did not wish to be named, told the Chronicle: “We’ve been in contact with our local councillors because of how unsuitable this site is for what’s being proposed. The applicant has made amendments but the fact of the matter remains that adding 200-plus houses, not to mention a school, will hugely affect Wombwell’s roads.
“They’re already at breaking point and I, along with other residents, have no faith in Barnsley Council’s planning board who have pressed ahead with schemes regardless of residents’ feedback in the past.”
A fresh public consultation on the revisions ended on Wednesday and the responses will be collated before the application’s fate is decided at a future planning board meeting.
Because it is a major development, the site will generate a large income for the council through ‘Section 106’, an agreement where money has to be paid to help mitigate the impact of having more residents in the area.
Details of that arrangement still have to be completed, said Coun Daniel Griffin, along with the latest assessment from the council’s highways team to explain how the road network could cope with new traffic levels.
However, he is now planning widespread consultation work in the area - beyond that carried out as a legal duty under planning legislation - which will include sessions to assist those wanting to write letters of comment, but unsure of how to use the system.
It is proposed to make a paper copy of the plans available at a public building in the area and councillors also expect to embark on a major door-knocking exercise to listen to residents’ concerns and observations as well as delivering hundreds of letters.
“There is no easy answer, we are in desperate need of homes,” said Coun Griffin. “We are trying to find a compromise but we don’t have the full picture.
“We are still waiting for suggestions for managing traffic, which is the biggest issue, and the compensation the community will get for the loss of the green space. They are two big issues for us.”