PLANS put forward to create a new link road to encourage more businesses to set up near junction 37 of the M1 have been earmarked for approval - despite campaigners’ worries over ‘dangerous’ amounts of traffic.
The proposal, put forward by Barnsley Council, will go before the local authority’s own planning board on Tuesday and relates to Capitol Park, Dodworth.
Plans show a new roundabout will connect Capitol Close and Higham Lane, with a link road into the industrial site, and an enlargement of the existing roundabout on Whinby Road.
Campaigners - backed by Coun Peter Fielding who represents the Dodworth ward - believe Higham Lane’s traffic woes will be exacerbated by the road’s creation and encourage more HGVs to use the narrow access.
Coun Fielding told the Chronicle: “It’s terrible on there and always has been - it’s too narrow and my argument is that it’s simply not suitable given the amount of traffic we already see.
“Adding to that is dangerous and we need to have conditions in place to boost road safety.”
Two properties closest to the site - Higham Manor and Lane Side Farm - will not experience a significant change in noise levels, according to the council.
Another bungalow, lived in for more than 20 years by a man in his 70s, will be demolished to enable access off Higham Lane after it was boarded up.
Local businessman Gary Hunt, of Lane Side Farm, said his property’s view - which currently looks onto open fields - will be blighted.
“I’m a Barnsley man who is not against change and I want the town to prosper and while I accept this land has been removed from the green belt for employment use, this will blow 500 years of history to pieces,” he added.
“I do not believe there’s been proper and adequate consideration given to our properties, the setting or its surrounding area.
“We believe it’s been pushed through with little regard for us. We want jobs in Barnsley, but not at any cost.”
The site - codenamed MU1 - has already been earmarked for development under the council’s local plan, a blueprint for business and housing expansion over the next 15 years, which was adopted in January.
A council report said: “The proposal includes the creation of a new roundabout to connect Capitol Close and Higham Lane, highways improvement works to upgrade Higham Lane and the enlargement of Capitol Park’s roundabout.
“The primary role of the development is to help facilitate access to the development site and deliver highway capacity benefits to serve wider local plan growth.
“It is recognised that the proposal is principally for highway improvements that increase capacity and reassign traffic. However, in order to deliver identified local plan growth some improvements to highway capacity are unavoidable and reassignment of traffic is intended to provide safety and environmental benefits.
“When considered as part of a wider package of improvements, the proposal is eventually intended to divert existing traffic away from existing routes and provide a purpose-built multi-user route between Claycliffe and Dodworth, thus reducing existing issues on the highway network and promoting sustainable travel.
“The proposal is considered to conform with the development plan, national planning policy and associated guidance and is deemed acceptable having regard to all other material considerations.”
Eric Illsley, a former MP for Barnsley Central and member of campaign group Keep It Green 2014, added: “The supposed link road is purely designed to open up the MU1 site but little thought has been given to residents in Higham whose homes will be blighted by years of increased traffic, noise and HGVs.
“The council’s to blame as it pressed ahead with the Dodworth bypass scheme, which is responsible for the road’s increased traffic.
“In effect this is shifting traffic elsewhere and it’s the council solving one issue and creating another.
“Add the HGV traffic associated with the warehouses which have also been allocated to be built on the site and most people will see that a relief road will not do anything for surrounding villages’ traffic concerns.”
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