THERE are still no plans to replace the burnt-down council properties in Kingstone following a devastating fire almost a year ago - prompting a councillor to question the decision due to an ever-growing waiting list.
The fire, on Woodland Drive, began at 3.40pm on July 19 and destroyed four homes and left two more badly damaged.
Firefighters flocked to the scene on the day to attempt to contain the blaze, whilst concerned neighbours tried their best to extinguish the fire.
But after immense work from all involved, a number of properties were burnt to the ground in a scene of sheer devastation.
A fundraiser, set up by Nicola Barry from Twisted Teapot, managed to raise more than £28,000 for those affected by the blaze - as Barnsley’s community spirit shone through to support residents in need.
Demolition work to remove the homes was completed in August but Barnsley Council confirmed to the Chronicle this week that there are no plans to replace them.
Matt O’Neill, executive director for growth and sustainability, said: “The site has been cleared, grassed and fenced and will remain as open space.
“There are no plans to redevelop the site at this time.”
Coun Chris Wray, who represents the Dodworth ward, told the Chronicle he was confused as to why there are no plans to redevelop - especially considering the waiting list for council houses is growing ‘year-on-year’.
Coun Wray said there’s at least 7,000 people on the waiting list at this time.
He added: “It’s a shame that the council has no plans to rebuild these houses or build new ones on this land.
“The waiting list for council homes is now around 8,000, with the council losing up to 200 homes per year.
“Every opportunity to provide new council houses should be grasped.
“The council own the site, and cabinet member Coun Robert Frost, gave a written reply to Coun Peter Fielding last year regarding this stating the self-insurance scheme has enough funds to replace the stock, so I can’t think of a valid reason not to.
“This is an opportunity to provide families with a modern, energy efficient home - so I can’t understand their reluctance to do so.
“I urge the council to do the right thing and replace these homes for families who need them.”
There are currently 18,800 council houses which are looked after by Berneslai Homes across the borough.
Since 2011, Barnsley Council has built 180 new council homes and currently have schemes being built in Bolton-upon-Dearne, Monk Bretton and Goldthorpe.
Work is expected to be completed later this year at the schemes on St Michael’s Avenue in Monk Bretton and Billingley View in Bolton.
A total of 32 new council homes will be built as part of those plans.
Whilst the Market Street development in Goldthorpe, which will see nine new properties built, is expected to finish next year.