CONTROVERSIAL plans which would see the ‘unnecessary destruction’ of Hoyland’s countryside have sparked outrage among residents who feel their views are being ignored by an ‘ancient’ council system.
The Hoyland West masterplan framework was approved at both cabinet and full council meetings - which now take place online - a decision which left disgruntled Hoyland resident Mark Goodison in dismay.
There are currently three masterplan frameworks, leading to a planned 2,000 homes, as well as a MyHermes distribution centre called ‘Colossus’ - the largest of its kind throughout the entirety of Europe.
Mark, of Stead Lane, started a petition against the North, South, West and East masterplans at the start of lockdown - a petition which has seen more than 1,500 sign to show their disdain against the plans.
He told the Chronicle: “I started the petition at the start of lockdown and there’s a couple more people that sign it every day - we’re currently at 1,539 signatures.
“Barnsley Council point blank refuse to acknowledge the petition - it’s absolutely disgusting the system that’s in place currently, it’s ancient.”
Mark also supports a new petition, Democracy for Barnsley, which hopes to change the ways in which the council make decisions, in a bid to have the voices of residents heard.
Coun Hannah Kitching, group leader for Barnsley’s Lib Dems, said: “The strong leader and cabinet system is certainly effective as it gets decisions made quickly, but it makes those decisions at the exclusion of the vast majority of elected members, even those in the ruling Labour group.
“Out of 63 councillors, just eight make all the decisions. This disengages and disenfranchises not only those elected members, but also all the people who vote for them.
“There is another way of making decisions in local government, one that involves collaboration, engagement and communication, rather than a top-down dictatorial approach.
“Communities do not feel like they’re being heard the council does not listen to its public and its views are dismissed.”
Mark believes that the way the council have gone about the masterplan is ‘a disgrace’, and that the new online process put in place is detrimental to the people of Hoyland.
“The reason that we’re currently so angry is that in a recent council meeting, held over Zoom, every single councillor who spoke about the destruction of our village said that they hadn’t seen any outrage,” he added.
“Everything is done online now, and a lot of people in Hoyland are OAPs and don’t have access to the internet - the only way they’re finding out about the masterplans is through word of mouth.
“We don’t live in the olden days anymore, we all have a voice and we’re against the annihilation of the North, East, South and West areas of the whole village.
“We’re all supporting the Democracy for Barnsley petition because we feel it’s the only way we’re going to get our voices heard - we want to remove them from their proverbial ivory tower.”
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Outrage over Hoyland’s ‘destruction’
Author: Jack Tolson
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