MAJOR plans to widen one of the main routes into the town centre into five lanes - which would result in the relocation of a memorial to relieve long-standing congestion woes - have broken cover.

A planning application, submitted on behalf of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), seeks to widen Old Mill Lane and increase its current three lanes to five.

This would include a new bus lane, cycle paths, the relocation of a bus shelter, the removal of Asda’s recycling centre and Kaye Pepper’s memorial, who died on July 13, 1996.

Old Mill Lane is considered one of the town’s traffic bottlenecks and it being one of the main routes into and away from the town centre.

Transport bosses hope the work will help reduce congestion and improve journey times.

The memorial was erected the year after Kaye’s death and her sister, 50-year-old Jayne Pepper, of Stairfoot, said the planning process has been ‘handled incredibly’ so far.

Jayne, who saw the collision which ended her sister’s life, told the Chronicle: “We’re happy for the plans to go ahead as long as the memorial is still there and we have something to go to.

“Even though it’s going to be relocated we’re happy with it.

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“We go to the memorial at Christmas and we head there quite a bit because it does get quite grubby being at the roadside.

“It’s a comfort that we can keep her memory going on.

“It feels like yesterday it happened and even though it was traumatic for me to witness I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way than me being with her so she wasn’t alone.

“We won’t forget her - we never have and we never will.”

The new proposals, which were revealed earlier this week, suggest the widening of the highway to include four lanes and a separate bus lane - five in total.

The bridge over the River Dearne would be widened by around seven metres to accommodate the additional lanes.

A number of trees will also be lost, some of which are covered by a tree preservation order (TPO), to ensure the development is delivered.

If approved, the development will be the second major road scheme in Barnsley in the last few years following the controversial approval of a multi-lane road through Penny Pie Park in the Dodworth ward.

A planning report added: “This assessment has shown that the public benefits of the proposed development are considerable, and it would contribute to a range of economic, social and environmental sustainable objectives.

“This includes enhancing the role of Barnsley town centre in providing access to a range of business, retail and leisure opportunities and promoting the health and wellbeing of local residents and businesses.”

A public consultation will be held until January 26 and residents are able to comment on the council’s planning website.