SIGNIFICANT plans to widen one of the main routes into Barnsley town centre into four lanes to help ease congestion which will require taking land from residents - are set for approval despite concerns from locals.

The application, submitted on behalf of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), seeks to widen the A61 Wakefield Road corridor.

It would deliver four traffic lanes - from the current three - including the provision of new footways, pedestrian crossings and two new bus stops.

Industrial and commercial units - such as KFC and Topps Tiles - surround the site, while residential properties are also located around Carlton Road to the north-east of the planned site.

A report, which is to be discussed next week, states: “Wakefield Road would be widened by approximately 7.5m and the highway layout would be re-configured to provide four traffic lanes (two heading straight on along the A61 north and south and two considerably longer right turn lanes onto Carlton Road and Smithies Lane).

“Existing pedestrian paths would be retained on both sides of the road.

“The scheme retains two bus stops with the reconfigured layout including a new pull-in at the bus stop on the southbound side making it easier for other vehicles overtake stationary buses heading in the direction of Barnsley town centre and it retaining the bus stop layby on the northbound side.

“The total new width for the road would increase to approximately 20m.

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“Retaining structures are required at the back of the footways.

“The development would result in the loss of 13 car parking spaces from the commercial use car parks to the south east to support the road expansion.”

Plans to widen nearby Old Mill Lane - a road that directly joins onto the new plans - into five lanes have also recently been approved

This includes 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.

Following a consultation which saw 105 letters sent to neighbouring properties, seven letters of objection were made.

The main points of concern were noise and delays during construction; restriction of access; negative impact on access to existing buildings; loss of land; businesses potentially having to relocate and that the proposed works wouldn’t address the issues.

Despite this, the plans have been put forward for approval.

The report added: “The development would put measures in place to enable the road system to be used more efficiently, providing sustainability benefits to a range of road users and associated benefits on the local environment.

“In particular, the bus would become a more attractive option, supporting a transition from reliance on the private car and reducing the overall impact of road travel.

“The A61 currently forms a key route connecting Barnsley town centre south to Wakefield and north to the M1.

“The proposals would help address existing traffic congestion issues along this section of highway.

“Significant development should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes.

“This can help to reduce congestion and emissions and improve air quality and public health.”

The proposals will be discussed at a meeting next Tuesday.