‘SIGNIFICANT’ amounts of extra traffic at a notorious bottleneck will be generated as a result of a giant new warehouse which was given the go-ahead this week, according to fed-up locals who have accused Barnsley Council of not listening to concerns.
A planning application for the 31,600 square metre logistics hub - which will be built on a site once home to Rockingham Colliery and be more than 250 metres in length - was approved on Tuesday.
A service yard and space for 55 HGV parking spaces will be located to the rear of the building, and 315 parking spaces are also proposed.
Coun Dave White, who represents the Rockingham ward, voted against the plans having claimed the notorious Birdwell roundabout - off junction 36 of the M1 - is not fit for purpose.
Coun White told the meeting the proposal would add ‘significant traffic’ to the area.
He said: “It’s hard to argue against commercial planning in the right location - such as industrial estates - but that, along with the many other warehouses we are seeing emerge, is negated by the out-of-town applicants for the jobs that will have to travel here, as well as not contributing to our local economy.
“Birdwell roundabout is not fit for purpose even now - additional lorries and employees travelling here will add to the traffic problems that the roundabout faces.
“Coming in late to these ‘decisions’ does make it incredibly difficult, but finally there is some pushing back starting, which will have some impact.
“Let’s hope these ‘speculative’ warehouses do employ people at a realistic wage and that they don’t end up vacant for years.
“We need to hope that employment is local so that the high value jobs will give people enough money to buy houses and spend locally - I really hope that’s the case.
“I objected to the application based on the increase in local traffic and the existing issues around Birdwell roundabout.
“I also worry that basic services in Rockingham and Hoyland are stretched to maximum, including schooling, doctors and other basic services.”
Despite the council overhauling the roundabout in 2016 - when it became traffic light-controlled - it was described at the time as ‘confusing and complicated’.
Matters have been exacerbated by the nearby masterplan framework, detractors believe - which opened up swathes of land for business use - and resulted in the creation of a £60m parcel ‘mega hub’.
However, head of planning at the council, Joe Jenkinson, said improvement works to the roundabout ensured it is fit for purpose for future schemes.
“Cumulative impact assessments will always assume a worst-case scenario,” he added.
“Because of the works that were undertaken to Birdwell roundabout four or five years ago, and because of the the level of engagement with National Highways at that time, we ensured that the scheme that was built was fit for purpose to deal with congestion issues then, but also have the capacity to accommodate what we’re seeing coming forward now.”