DEVELOPERS behind a controversial housing scheme on the site of a derelict pub have been urged to provide a space for the community - after councillors warned its loss would scupper any plans for a new meeting hub to be formed.
A formal planning application has now been submitted for 13 homes on the site of the former Fountain pub in Ingbirchworth.
The plans would spell the end of hopes that the derelict inn - which has become a target for arson and antisocial behaviour - could become a community hub in a village with no facilities at all as first explored.
Earlier this year, a community group’s attempt to acquire the site for the village came to nothing, leaving residents with nowhere to meet.
Coun Hannah Kitching said: “I will be calling on the developer to look at this application again to see if some community space provision can be worked in.
“I have concerns about that village and its lack of services. Even the parish council can’t meet there, they have to use Upper Denby Church, and the scheme would mean there can be no polling station for that district.”
Gunthwaite and Ingbirchworth Parish Council has also raised fears about more new homes in a village without any services and limited access to public transport.
Chairman David Edmondson said the four to five-bedroom homes would be in the higher price bracket, built by Conroy Brooks.
After drafting a response on behalf of the parish council and submitting it to Barnsley Council, the past week has been spent consulting with a community group and residents to get their input.
“There is a lot of concern and this is what we have put in our response,” said Mr Edmondson.
“There were worries about parking and pedestrian safety, but the key thing is that this is a village with no services or facilities. This needs to be addressed one way or another.
“The lack of facilities needs to be considered in the way this application is dealt with. It is a major policy issue and not in accordance with the council’s o local plan.
“Therefore there needs to be debate - I am not saying it should be refused outright.”
Coun Kitching echoed Mr Edmondson’s comments and urged residents to have their say in the statutory planning consultation phase, which ends on July 13.
“I would add that this effectively eliminates the last potential community space in the village,” she said. “The Fountain was a long-established pub and a focal point. For residents the loss of that is a huge concern.
“Although the parish council has consulted widely, their submission only counts as one response so it is vital that residents submit their own views.
“The site is an eyesore and has been derelict for too long. Most people in the village would welcome something being done with it and the community has tried every way of getting it for community use.
“We need the site to move forward and to start looking better again - but not at the expense of a community space.
“It comes down to the local plan and the developer might find they have no choice but to incorporate a community space element. We will have to wait and see.”
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