PLANS to introduce car parking charges at a nearby beauty spot have been approved following an appeal - despite local MPs and councillors clamouring for the application to be dismissed.

The government has ruled on the row, after Yorkshire Water appealed the introduction for parking charges at Langsett Flouch car park - after the council’s planning board refused the plans - which is used by visitors to Langsett Reservoir.

The ‘inappropriate’ application was rejected by Barnsley Council’s planning officers in October, following strong opposition from locals, MPs and councillors.

They rejected it on the grounds that it would represent ‘inappropriate development’ within the green belt, raising particular concern about a four-metre pole for the camera.

Charges would begin at £1 for an hour and rise to £5 for day.

Drivers would also be able to buy a £30 year-long pass.

The water firm said the fees would help fund rangers, nature conservation, countryside management and improvement of facilities.

Residents and business owners have raised concerns the charges may lead to drivers leaving their cars on grass verges or in parking spaces on the A616 Manchester Road.

The Peak District National Park Authority has approved plans for charges at another nearby car park at Langsett Barn.

However, the government’s planning inspectorate opted to stand on the side of Yorkshire Water last week when they withheld their appeal.

It now means car parking charges are set to come into action sooner rather than later.

A report said: “Concerns have been raised by interested parties which I have considered carefully.

“It is suggested that the introduction of charging would have serious detrimental consequences for the Langsett area and would result in visitors seeking alternative parking on the A616 and on other local roads.

“It is indicated that this poses a risk to public safety, would affect the viability of local businesses and have a detrimental effect on the local environment.

“While some visitors may choose to avoid paying the charge, it is not inevitable that all visitors will seek alternative parking to avoid payment.

“Accordingly, any displacement parking from the introduction of charging is unlikely to be as acute as the example given when all visitors had no choice but to find alternative parking, or if the appeal site remained the only free car park in the locality, as discussed above. “Moreover, I note that National Highways who manage the A616 have not objected to the proposal.

“This matter therefore attracts limited weight.

“While I acknowledge interested parties’ frustrations with the principle of charges being made for car parking and the costs of the proposed rates, the operational decision by Yorkshire Water falls outside the scope of this appeal and is a neutral matter in the determination of the scheme.

“Similarly, a number of residents have expressed frustrations with the appellant’s approach to the case, however this has not affected my consideration of the planning merits of the proposal.”

Coun Hannah Kitching, leader of Barnsley’s Lib Dems, has slammed the decision.

She said: “It’s frustrating but not particularly surprising that the planning inspectorate has overturned this decision.

“This felt inevitable since Peak District national Park approve the system at the Langsett Barn car park, but nonetheless seems to make a mockery of the government’s own green belt planning laws.

“As local councillors, we remain opposed to the proposed parking charges at Langsett Reservoir which will have a negative and potentially dangerous impact on the local highways network, on residents and local businesses.”