NO guarantees have been given that an essential link road to reduce so-called dangerous levels of traffic near a ‘clogged-up’ industrial estate will be constructed before more development sites spring up in the future.
Barnsley Council received £10.63m for the scheme which forms the link road, off Higham Common Road, and alterations to roundabouts at Capitol Park from the Local Government Fund (LGF).
However, despite councillors insisting that the road is in place before further development in Dodworth and Higham commences – as has already been agreed – it’s now been revealed that that won’t possibly happen.
Coun Phil Birkinshaw said: “We already have many problems on Higham Common Road with HGVs as a result of the businesses on industrial estates in Dodworth.
“We absolutely need to ensure that further developments simply do not happen before this link road is in place. Without it, the already congested route will become even worse.”
The matter, discussed at the last full council meeting, was brought up after plans were revealed to build 140 homes on land off nearby Barugh Green Road.
There are currently 28 affordable houses proposed with the further 112 made up of 20 with two bedrooms, 75 with three bedrooms and 17 with four or more.
Eric Illsley, a former MP for Barnsley Central, said: “People are rightly distraught as they pose serious questions for Higham residents in particular.
“This supposed link road is purely designed to open up the site but little thought has been given to residents, particularly on Higham Common Road, 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 Higham Common 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.”
A project team has already been established consisting of council officers, the Barnsley West Consortium – which is a joint venture between Strata Homes and Sterling Capitol – and their agents for the 122-hectare site which is earmarked for housing, business use and a new primary school in the future.
Cabinet spokesman Coun Chris Lamb said it was the council’s preference to have the road in place ‘as soon as possible’, but confirmed it was not set in stone and further development could take place before its creation.
“The link road was planned to improve connectivity to the site, which is allocated in the council’s local plan, as early as possible.
“The 140-home estate relates to the Redbrook end of the site and it’s envisaged the whole area will be developed in a piecemeal fashion.
“We are in dialogue with the Barnsley West Consortium on how to bring this road forward and are exploring options.
“We fully appreciate concerns and we also share the preference for it to be in use in advance of further development but if that’s not possible, we’ll certainly look at all different options.
“By doing this, we remove the burden on Higham Common Road.”