A PETITION disputing the most recent rise in council tax has garnered more than 500 signatures after concerns that council services have not benefited local communities.

Victoria Semley, of Upperwood Road in Darfield, has hit out at council bosses for ‘not doing enough’ for communities outside the town centre.

The Darfield resident has called the area a ‘forgotten village’ as she believes waste is not collected, grass and weeds are left to excessively grow and pot holes are untreated.

Victoria told the Chronicle: “I understand the council has been under increasing pressure during these unprecedented times but this has been going on for years without action.

“I feel we’re paying for a service we simply aren’t getting, and general maintenance such as road repairs, pavement fixtures, regular waste collection, improvements to drainage systems and streetlights have been delayed.

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“I’ve been left frustrated with the amount of outstanding jobs that have been left for years in Darfield.”

The online petition, which she hopes will be discussed in cabinet, has reached more than half of its target amount of signatures.

“The reaction to the petition has been great. I’ve had over 500 signatures and a lot of local residents have reached out with support.

“Things have quietened down since the pandemic, but I’m keen to get back out and campaign for Darfield and other residents for their voices to be heard.”

Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for place, regeneration and culture, said: “The coronavirus pandemic caused great disruption to a number of our services which are now recovering.

“Staff levels were reduced as a result of virus, meaning we had to scale a number of services back, including grass-cutting.

“The regeneration happening in Barnsley gives us the opportunity to connect cranes with communities to make sure that local people really benefit from the work that is taking place in the borough.

“Darfield is treated no differently from any other area of the borough and will benefit from investment from the Principal Towns programme.

“For example, we have recently resurfaced the church car park to increase car parking in the area and cleared more than 3,500m of weeds.

“We also tidied the war memorial area with help from a ‘Bags of Help’ grant from Tesco and are looking into making improvements to shop fronts, improvements to the Ring as well as a tile project with the local school.

“In addition, of the 60 eligible businesses in Darfield, 58 have received some form of support.

“Any cut to council tax would reduce services further and put at risk the jobs of those who worked to keep services going and keep us safe.

“It would undermine essential services and potentially put lives at risk as a consequence.

“We have a range of support available to our residents who have been directly impacted by the pandemic. Go to the council website for more information.”