BARNSLEY Council won their case against the landowners of a former coking plant - which was cited as a magnet for arsonists - who turned the site into an ‘illegal’ dumping ground.

In September, the council took enforcement action against Monckton Developments in Royston, after environment bosses complained about ‘large-scale’ fly-tipping.

Deliberate fires have been started at the Monckton site, on Lund Hill Lane, Royston - which prompted a plea from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue last year.

Previously owned by Hargreaves before being sold to MHH Contracting several years ago, it’s still the subject of a planning application - submitted in 2020 - for up to 500 homes.

The former plant supplied coke destined for use in glass, detergents and steel manufacturing but was hit hard because Chinese suppliers were able to undercut its prices.

Hargreaves subsequently entered a consultation process with employees on October 27, 2014 and ceased production just two months later, resulting in Monckton’s 130-strong workforce losing their jobs.

Since, its future use has been in doubt, with plans for a power plant being mooted before the planning application for homes was lodged.

However, despite demolition work being carried out - as well as ground contamination clean-ups - it was alleged Monckton is being used as a ‘dump-it’ site for waste accumulated on other projects.

It was this that fire and Environment Agency bosses complained to the council about, due to waste being set alight on numerous occasions over the summer.

Councillors in Royston have received a number of complaints from concerned residents about the state of the site and, following the Planning Inspectorate taking the side of the council, they say they’re extremely pleased with the decision.

Coun Caroline Makinson, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, told the Chronicle: “On behalf of Royston residents, I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our planning enforcement team, and all the partner officers working on this case which included South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and our community safety team.

“This was a fantastic multi-agency effort - their continued hard work has given us this positive result.

“This site is a gateway to Royston, directly opposite our beautiful Rabbit Ings Country Park, so efforts will continue in monitoring the site and ensuring that proactive enforcement takes place following this decision.”

Following the case, the notice now requires Monckton Developments to immediately cease the importation and storage of construction and other waste materials.

Within three months they are then required to remove the materials that were previously imported and to restore the land to its previous condition prior to the unauthorised use taking place.

A report from the Planning Inspectorate added: “There is clear evidence from the council that the alleged breach has occurred.

“This includes the complaints received, detailed photographic evidence taken by complainants showing large piles of construction and waste materials across parts of the site and aerial photographs which show how materials have accumulated on parts of the site since May 2019.

“The aerial photographs also appear to show vehicle tracks from the main vehicular access across the site to the area where materials have been deposited in the northern area of the land in question.

“It is also my understanding the enforcement action has been taken following investigations including a multi-agency meeting between the council, the Environment Agency, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and South Yorkshire Police.”