PLANS to build a large housing estate on fiercely protected former green belt land at the centre of a long-running row between campaigners and Barnsley Council have broken cover - despite objectors urging a rethink of the site.

Applicant Countryside Properties has outlined its plan to build 140 homes on land off Barugh Green Road - a site earmarked for development known as ‘MU1’ in the council’s local plan blueprint.

MU1 - the largest swathe of land in the plan which sets out future development ambitions up to 2033 - is at the centre of a battle between campaign group Keep It Green and the local authority.

A planning report said: “The application site is allocated for mixed-use within the local plan and further identified for residential use within the accompanying Barnsley West masterplan.

“The proposals will go towards meeting the borough’s housing need and delivering the council’s five-year housing land supply.

In Text Promo Image

“It is considered that the principle of development is acceptable, and the proposals represent sustainable development.

“The application proposals will deliver a well designed, high quality scheme which makes effective use of the site.”

There are currently 28 affordable houses proposed - 19 of which are two-bedroom and the other nine three-bedroom.

As well as this, 112 market houses are proposed - 20 with two bedrooms, 75 with three bedrooms and 17 with four or more.

“Local plan sets out that housing development of 15 dwellings or more will be expected to provide affordable housing,” the statement added.

“Proposals within Darton and Barugh will be expected to deliver 20 per cent affordable housing.

“The application proposals include the delivery of 28 affordable houses on site.

“The units are made up of a mixture of two and three-bedroom dwellings.”

Public consultation ends on October 8, but Keep It Green members have made a fresh call for the council to rethink the site due to the knock-on impacts of coronavirus and the costly damage it’s inflicted on the local economy.

“Responsible local authorities are reassessing their housing requirements in the light of changing circumstances and demonstrating their professionalism, but not in Barnsley,” a spokesman told the Chronicle.

‘“Many thousands of people are now working from home and many businesses will not survive the closures brought on by the pandemic and the economic outlook for both Barnsley and the country has changed dramatically since the local plan was drawn up.

“Site MU1 will not have 33 per cent of sporting or leisure facilities and what they may have will be paid for by a service charge levied on each of the owners of the new houses.

“The green movement does not deny anyone’s aspirations for better - and incidentally affordable - housing but we will continue to campaign against the concreting over of every blade of grass within urban Barnsley.”