A STAIRFOOT quarry - which caused concern for councillors after youngsters were found recklessly swimming during the hot weather - could be drained after the Environment Agency reportedly forced the owner’s hand.

The quarry, which is part of the sprawling former Yorkshire Brickworks, saw teenagers flock there when temperatures soared in June - and with the weather set to improve over the coming weeks, concerns regarding safety have once again been raised.

Hanson UK, the site’s owner, had agreed to install a steel fence around its perimeter and plant borders of hawthorn, brambles, blackberry and reeds around the water edge in a bid to keep swimmers away.

But the Chronicle understands that planning documents have been created to drain the site instead, with reported plans to implement two water tanks on a council-owned site near to Sandy Gate Lane to drain the water.

Coun Karen Dyson, who represents the Stairfoot ward, blasted those who went to the quarry last month and pleaded with residents to stay clear before another life was lost.

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Great concerns were raised by local councillors, as well as Barnsley Council, South Yorkshire Police and the Environment Agency, following the deaths of two young people in Rotherham and Wakefield who drowned in open water.

Coun Dyson, who wants the quarry to be drained ‘as soon as possible’, told the Chronicle: “Draining the quarry will be the first step into making the site safer which is good news.

“I think the site has been bad all these years, not just these past few months, but it’s good that Hanson UK and the Environment Agency are now acting on it.

“It needs draining as soon as possible but it all depends on the time scale of the application.

“My kids are 33 and 35 now and they never went down there when they were younger because even then they knew how dangerous it was - and it’s still dangerous now.”

Coun Dyson said she is thankful for the work that South Yorkshire Police are doing following an increase in officers patrolling the area.

However, she insists patrols need to continue as school-aged children break up from school until September.

“It’s not kids from Ardsley that are swimming in the quarry - they’re coming from surrounding areas like Cudworth and Kendray,” she added.

“I’m hoping that they won’t even get the opportunity to start swimming again because of the drainage - with it coming up the summer holidays it’s definitely dangerous.

“Local police officers are doing a really good job as they’re increasing patrols so I hope that continues.

“The water can be quite deep - it’s just an accident waiting to happen.”