Coun Peter Fielding, who represents the Dodworth ward for the Liberal Democrats, has spoken out this week about alleged failings in the council-commissioned report which was carried out by AECOM, an independent firm before the Penny Pie Park gyratory scheme was approved.
Campaigners - including members of Extinction Rebellion - held a protest on the park’s corner yesterday, where Dodworth Road meets Pogmoor Road, before making their way to Barnsley Town Hall for the full council meeting.
AECOM initially revealed 2,082 homes would be affected by increased noise in the short term, with ‘major increases’ to the western extent of Grosvenor Walk and on Broadway at the south-east corner of the junction with Dodworth Road.
However, Coun Fielding claims the assessment was carried out partly in the second week of last year’s Easter holidays, where movements were lower than they would normally have been during term time.
“In short, a significant proportion of the noise monitoring was undertaken during the second week of last year’s Easter school holidays, when clearly the traffic flow is very different,” Coun Fielding told the Chronicle.
“The report by AECOM claims to have followed the national industry standard methodology, but that is not the case as the guidance clearly states that such noise monitoring should not take place during the school holidays.
“The model was also used to design the noise barriers and other noise mitigation measures.
“As the noise measurements put into the modelling were carried out at the wrong times, and do not follow the national guidance, then there can be no confidence in the results of the exercise.
“Other as yet unidentified properties may well be adversely affected, some properties may be more significantly affected than first thought and the mitigation measures may be insufficient.”
Funding for the £4.3m scheme, which was initially earmarked to start as soon as April this year and take a year to complete, will be jointly covered by the council, which has re-prioritised its highways department’s expenditure programme to enable the work, and Sheffield City Region’s investment fund which has pumped in a total of £2.7m towards the project.
“In view of these glaring errors I am calling on Barnsley Council to insist that AECOM carry out a new assessment in accordance with the guidance,” Coun Fielding added.
“The current assessment can be treated as no more than guesswork and local residents deserve better than that when the potential effects of this scheme on their lives are so serious.
“The council’s paid a considerable amount of money to AECOM to carry out this work and they should now insist that it is carried out correctly.
“AECOM are the same consultants who designed the gyratory, carried out traffic flow assessments, carried out the air pollution assessments and carried out the greenspace assessment.
“It is difficult to have any confidence in any of this work if the noise assessment is so flawed and not to the standard that they claim.”
Matt Gladstone, executive director for place at the council, said: “The council received the report from AECOM in September 2018. Planning raised some possible concerns with the potential mitigations and the council asked AECOM to carry out further work.
“The planning service took the view that it made sense to publicise all the additional information in one go, to reduce the impact on people making representations and to avoid confusion and consultation fatigue.
“The noise reports highlight that there are 2,153 residential properties and five non-residential noise-sensitive buildings that fall within the 600m calculation area that is used to evaluate noise levels.
“For properties and buildings outside of this calculation area, but within 1km, a wider study area impact assessment has been carried out.
“The significant and moderate impact may be avoided through the implementation of a noise insulation scheme, in line with a package of measures, assuming the residents accept any offer made.”