A PUBLIC inquiry is being pursued by angry residents whose homes’ values will be ‘slashed overnight’ by a decision to approve a raft of road alterations to free up access to the borough’s biggest development site, the Chronicle can reveal.
Councillors gave the nod to a link road and three new roundabouts in the Higham area on Tuesday, which is at the centre of the controversial MU1 site, after a vote.
Higham Common Road’s scheme had ten votes for and ten against, leaving planning board chairman Coun Ken Richardson - who gave his support - with the final say, sparking fury from angry locals.
It enables MU1, the borough’s largest parcel of land allocated in the local authority’s development blueprint for the next decade, to yield up to 1,700 homes, dozens of business premises and a primary school from its giant 122-hectare site.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, said homes on Higham Common Road will effectively have one of the roundabouts on their front doorstep.
“Every single person who lives in this row of houses has submitted an individual objection to this as we’re all going to be impacted,” he told the Chronicle. “When a vote is locked at ten votes each, giving one person the authority to decide is absolutely wrong and we’ll be pursuing a public inquiry into this as one ‘yes’ vote has knocked thousands off our homes’ values.
“We’re livid - it cannot be allowed to go ahead and this solitary vote has consigned us to the history books in a long list of appalling decisions.
“MU1 had tonnes of objections but it’s going ahead and we’ve come to terms with that, but adding roundabouts on our doorstep is just another kick in the teeth and one we’ll fight against.”
Coun Peter Fielding, who represents the Dodworth ward, warned fellow planning board members that approving the scheme would harm dozens of residents and their homes.
This, he said, was due to one of the roundabout’s positioning and he believes the decision will have a ‘devastating’ impact.
“The decision to approve the construction of this large roundabout at the front doors of these homes is a travesty for those who live there,” he added.
“Their quality of life will be devastated by the constant noise, vibration and air pollution from the thousands of vehicles, many HGVs, using this roundabout less than 30 yards from their windows once the MU1 site is developed.
“All I asked is for the roundabout to be moved away from their homes, further into the MU1 site, but this was narrowly rejected by the board.
“This is an absolute disgrace and these residents do not deserve to be treated in this way.”
Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton told the Chronicle the decision was a ‘tough balancing act’ - but the right one for the long-term benefits.
“Higham Common Road’s had issues with traffic for a long time so the relief road is essential, but there can be no road without the roundabouts in place,” he added.
“It’s always a tough balancing act, hence why the planning board were split, but on the whole this is the right decision as the long-term benefits outweigh the initial drawbacks.”