TWO planning applications which seek to develop fiercely protected former green belt land at the centre of a long-running row between campaigners and Barnsley Council have broken cover.

MU1 - the largest swathe of former green belt land in the council’s local plan which sets out future development ambitions up to 2033 - could yield more than 1,700 homes in the coming years and 1.2 million square feet of business use.

Situated between Pogmoor, Higham and Barugh Green, it’s been at the centre of stern opposition from campaign group Keep It Green, who blasted plans revealed on Wednesday to press ahead with the scheme.

The Chronicle can reveal the two applications - which are being readied by Strata Homes and Sterling Capitol, who make up the Barnsley West Consortium - will firstly feature a 229-home estate, a link road to join two already approved new roundabouts, 43 hectares of employment land, wildlife corridors and ground preparation works.

Outline approval for the development of 1,760 homes, a new 420-space primary school and ‘community facilities’ is also being sought.

A planning document said: “The proposals have been influenced by a number of factors including existing planning policy allocations, the adopted masterplan framework and technical site constraints.

“The planning applications will be supported by a number of technical reports, including an environmental statement which will identify any impacts of the development during and after the construction stage, as well as the benefits of the development.

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“The applications will then propose suitable mitigation measures to address the identified impacts and ensure the site delivers a sustainable development with significant community benefits.

“The ground conditions of the site have been affected by previous open-cast mining, so there are areas where development is restricted.

“This gives the opportunity to create open green spaces across the site.

“Key areas of woodland, watercourses and hedgerows have been identified and these will be maintained or improved to create a high-quality and sustainable green environment.”

Initial comments can be made on the applications at barnsleywest.co.uk until May 26, before a statutory public consultation begins when the bids are validated by the council’s planning board.

A statement from Keep It Green added: “Members continue to note, with concern, the determination of the council and the

Barnsley West Consortium to press ahead with the implementation of MU1 and the loss of 122 hectares of green belt land.

“While we will continue to do its utmost to object to the development proposals, it is impracticable to deal with specific issues for every household.

“It is important that residents respond individually to the consultation, explaining their specific concerns and objections to the development proposals.

“It should be noted that all comments submitted will be provided to Barnsley Council as part of the planning application.”