CONTROVERSIAL plans for 235 homes and a school on derelict land at Wombwell have been given the go-ahead by planning councillors.

Despite a shoal of objections, members of Barnsley Council’s planning committee approved the scheme for the former Wombwell High School site at Lundhill Road this week.

Residents and community groups had voiced fears about traffic impact, the size of the development, drainage and flooding.

But Coun Mick Stowe said: “This is derelict land which needs to be brought back into public use.”

And head of planning Joe Jenkinson said residents’ concerns had been addressed at consultation stage.

The scheme comprises two, three and four-bedroom properties and affordable housing. Two hectares of the site are being retained for a new primary school.

Developers Premier Construction Group will pay around £2m in so-called Section 106 money to make up for loss of amenity.

Mr Jenkinson said: “We have taken account of residents’ concerns and there is now a lower scale of development on part of the site. We have also addressed concerns about the location of the school and there have been design changes,”

Mick Whittington, chairman of Lundhill Community Group, said: “We have a vested interest in our area and its wildlife and improving the environment.

“We know there is a need for more homes, but we feel insufficient action has been taken on our concerns.”

He said the impact on traffic levels, wildlife and the community had been underplayed.

“Those who live here see a loss of identity and our fears have not been addressed enough to satisfy residents,” said Mr Whittington.

The former police officer said Lundhill Road was already unable to cope with traffic volume and that the estate would become a rat-run.

Mr Jenkinson said the school would be a focal point for the community.

He accepted that residents had raised legitimate concerns. “Due to the level of scrutiny, 20 amendments have been made,” he said, adding that the issue of traffic at Park Road and Lundhill Road was ‘being addressed’.

Because the site is council-owned, he said the authority had ‘worn two hats’ during long negotiations - not least with regard to the Section 106 cash. This had resulted in around £800,000 towards primary school places, around £1m for public open spaces and £176,000 for sustainable travel.

“This development is legitimate and necessary,” he said. “We have taken the objections very seriously and made a number of amendments.”

Coun Robert Frost said the new homes were much-needed. “We have mitigated as many concerns as we can,” he said.

The scheme was agreed with conditions including provision of bat-boxes and landscaping.