A BITTER row which saw Barnsley Council take a housing developer to court over a breach of planning regulations relating to its use of unpermitted gravel driveways has finally ended - after the builder agreed to install tarmac alternatives.

The row related to gravel drives which Gleeson Homes used at its estates in Lundwood, Wombwell and Bolton-upon-Dearne which were a breach of planning conditions. It resulted in a fine being issued to Gleeson following an appearance at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court earlier this year.

Sheffield-based Gleeson received a bill of almost £8,000 - which accounted for two £1,900 fines, court costs and a surcharge - from Judge Naomi Redhouse having pleaded guilty to using gravel.

The prosecution resulted in Gleeson writing to its Barnsley residents giving them the choice of receiving a cash sum to maintain the gravel drive or opt for tarmac to be used - a stipulation insisted on by the council.

However, Gleeson then announced that the cash sum was being dropped and every resident’s drive will have a tarmac surface following ‘further discussions’ held with the council, who told the Chronicle earlier this year that more court action could be pursued if a deal was not struck.

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Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “Barnsley Council reached an agreement with Gleeson Homes on an amended driveway specification, following court proceedings earlier this year.

“We have pursued a resolution for our residents over the last couple of years and are pleased to say that Gleeson will be carrying out remedial work on these driveways.

“The work will start this month, and Gleeson are in the process of contacting affected residents.”

The climbdown comes after Gleeson resubmitted a twice-rejected planning application in order to build a 97-home estate off Lowfield Road, Bolton-upon-Dearne, in July.

It is the third phase of its building in the area but it’s been the subject of opposition from the Friends of Lowfield Road Action Group, who attracted more than 240 objections when the application was last refused.

The council’s planning board opted to turn down the Lowfield Road scheme most recently last June, on the grounds of Gleeson’s insistence on using gravel instead of a solid surface, flood risks and traffic concerns, while a subsequent appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was also dismissed in January.

James Thomson, chief executive of Gleeson, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Barnsley Council and we are working closely with all involved to complete the agreed works. “We have built 436 homes in the borough and we are excited about the prospect of delivering a further 97 plots on our third phase at Lowfield Park.

“We look forward to building more affordable homes for the community and working with the council moving forward.”