A DISUSED railway line is set to be given a new lease of life thanks to an ambitious Barnsley Council project which could link Royston to the town centre.

Following the county’s successful grant for funding in 2019 to improve active travel corridors - which totalled £166m - the council received their share and put forward potential schemes.

A section of the A61 - which connects the town centre to Royston via Smithies Lane - is set to yield a segregated and off-road three-metre-wide route alongside the railway.

A report, which will be discussed by planning board members on Tuesday, said: “The site follows a public footpath along the disused railway line, for approximately 1,600 metres, between A61 Wakefield Road and Lee Lane at Royston.

“Starting at Barnsley town centre, it heads north, running parallel with the A61, crossing the A61 gyratory, heading to Smithies Lane, Bar Lane, Lee Lane and a spur from Bar Lane to Carlton, linking an existing bridleway and shared cycleway network.

“We have aspirations to create an uninterrupted active travel link connecting Royston to Goldthorpe via Barnsley town centre, to significantly improve and expand connectivity - this forms a key piece of the larger network.”

The long-awaited scheme - first mooted in 2019 - precedes another plan for the railway line, which retains some small use for freight trains delivering sand to Ardagh Glass at Monk Bretton.

A funding bid was sent to the Department for Transport, which has made cash available to communities through its Restore Your Railway Fund, to potentially reopen the line to commuters.

However, the latest scheme - which has been earmarked for approval by planning bosses - has drawn some criticism from locals who took part in a public consultation who believe the path will attract illegal off-road bikers.

The report added: “Having reviewed the proposals, the council’s highways officer has raised no objections.

“Ground vegetation and trees are to be cleared, pruned or felled, either side of the proposed shared route, allowing clear sight lines and creating an increased feeling of space.

“There is a considerable amount of fly-tipped debris along the length of the cutting, which will be removed as part of the scheme.

“The site runs to the rear and adjacent to a number of residential properties in Athersley South, New Lodge and Mapplewell and it is acknowledged that the widening and resurfacing will likely increase its usage.

“However, any noise or disturbance would be fleeting and the path would remain tree-lined and parts would be cut lower than existing levels to further reduce noise.”