Campaigners in Hoyland have bemoaned a perceived lack of communication by the council regarding wide-scale development plans for the town, which have already seen two masterplan frameworks adopted in its north and west quarters.
The frameworks set out land for future housing and employment use up to 2033.
The development in Hoyland South - details of which were issued to yesterday’s full council meeting - is set to provide 1,100 homes at land around Broadcarr Road, Clough Fields Road, and Sheffield Road.
It complements an allocation of 700 homes and retail opportunities in Hoyland North, and also includes a shop, a community hub and a primary school.
Earlier this month, work started on a controversial £60m ‘mega hub’ for parcel delivery giant Hermes in Hoyland West - prompting an outcry from campaigners against the ‘decimation’ of Hoyland’s green belt.
A 2,200-strong petition set up by local man Mark Goodison questions not only that decision, but the Hoyland North masterplan adopted in December and the latest Hoyland South.
Mark said: “It’s been a resounding ‘no’ from a combined 3,000 people on the petition and Facebook page.
“I know we need housing, but it needs to be done in a better way, not cramming 2,000 houses into one small place. People in Hoyland already can’t get a doctor’s appointment, they can’t get their children into the local school - do the maths.
“There is no infrastructure for this kind of development.”
Hoyland West, considered to be one of the local plan’s largest employment allocations at 49.3 hectares, was deemed suitable for development despite its green belt status, as were Hoyland North and Hoyland South.
Campaigners believe current restrictions have allowed the Hermes scheme on Tankersley Lane to be rushed through - the firm expressed its interest in the site ahead of the masterplan’s adoption and the first shovels went in the ground a matter of weeks afterwards.
However, a report issued to yesterday’s council meeting states the pandemic hasn’t ‘materially impacted’ public participation, while addressing Mark’s petition.
The report said: “Seeking to resist development of these sites is therefore unrealistic and would undermine our corporate objectives, particularly the creation of homes and sustainable attractive green spaces which is all the more important given the economic consequences of the pandemic.”
Council leader Sir Steve Houghton has told the Chronicle the council is not willing to ‘stand still’ while considering thousands of jobs, as well as improved sporting and community facilities and transport links.
“We completely understand residents’ concerns but having masterplans in place for our development sites does allow us to control what will be situated there in the future, giving local people the best possible outcome,” he added at the meeting.
“I get that campaigners won’t always be happy with decisions such as this, but individual frameworks are extremely important and we cannot afford to not have them.”
The report added it was ‘inevitable’ that the Hoyland South framework is not able to address all feedback from the consultation, which received 79 responses.
Mark said: “The point of a democracy is that people are supposed to be able to challenge everything the council does - but Barnsley has a very archaic system.
“We voted for them to represent us, while in none of the full council meetings do they even acknowledge that we exist.
“Locals are angry and are going to do everything in their power to fight the council, who are coming across as very dictatorial.”