CONTROVERSIAL plans to extend a stable block at Cannon Hall Museum to create a new cafe and shop which were earmarked for approval have been deferred - after a resident pleaded for councillors to carry out a site visit before reaching a decision.

Anita Nicholson, whose home is one of six houses which shares a single-track driveway with the museum, spoke against the bid at Tuesday’s planning board meeting at Barnsley Town Hall.

Barnsley Council, the applicant for the scheme, outlined its plan for the venue’s Spencer Wing but a total of ten letters of objection - backed by Cawthorne Parish Council - were received during the public consultation.

She said: “The courtyard where we live is connected to the museum and is already a misused, supposedly private driveway. It’s 3.4 metres wide with one passing point - the average car is 2.1 metres wide and it’s regularly used by vans.

“That’s already caused significant damage to grass verges and we already have to contend with being blocked in - residents’ goodwill has been taken advantage of on a daily basis, without this being approved.

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“My own home borders the Spencer Wing and it already suffers from increased noise as a result.

“We feel like we have not been considered at all and the existing problems, if this is approved, will be made much worse as it’s one development too many for this area.

“I can only urge members of the board to carry out a site visit to see for themselves just how many problems we face.”

The Grade II-listed hall and 70-acre estate were sold to Barnsley Council in 1951 by the last member of the Spencer family, Elizabeth, and since then it has been run by the council as a tourist attraction.

It opened as a museum in 1957 and is now home to collections of glassware, ceramics, paintings and period furniture.

The site has approximately 450,000 visitors per year, with 150,000 people each year visiting the museum itself and participating in a regular programme of visiting exhibitions, workshops and events.

Head of planning, Joe Jenkinson, added: “The council owns and runs Cannon Hall Museum and we say residents’ current situations will be made better, not worse, by this application.

“With regards to the objector’s admission regarding increased noise, we can ask for mitigations to do with soundproofing and will speak with our colleagues who run the venue, but it’s not something the planning board can impose a condition on and anything would be done voluntarily.”

Cawthorne Parish Council objected to the scheme, saying the design of the glass porch isn’t ‘aesthetically pleasing’, while residents claim the proposed 11pm closing time would be disruptive.

Planning board members will visit the venue on the morning of their next meeting, which is due to be held on January 21, before reaching a decision on the application.