A BITTER row between Barnsley Council’s planning board and a housing developer is set to reignite and be decided on by the government - after an appeal was lodged against a new estate.

Gleeson Developments, responsible for a completed two-part estate off Lowfield Road, Bolton-upon-Dearne, had initially been refused consent for a proposed third phase on the site due to a row over the material used on its driveways which was not permitted by the council.

It related to gravel drives, which were a breach of planning conditions to the tarmac alternative agreed on, and resulted in an £8,000 fine being issued to following an appearance at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court.

A resubmitted bid for phase three at the site was rejected again by the council’s planning board in October last year due to highways safety which saw 215 objections lodged.

However, the Sheffield-based firm confirmed to the Chronicle that they have now submitted an appeal with the government-run Planning Inspectorate, whose officers have the power to overrule a council’s decision.

A Gleeson Homes spokesperson said: “Our proposal is to build 97 low-cost, family homes on a vacant site allocated to housing within the Barnsley Council local plan.

“The proposal outlines contributions towards local education, sustainable travel, and off-site green space, as well as making provisions for the preservation of an adjacent historic gun emplacement and a scheme of off-site traffic improvements, as required by the site allocation.

“We look forward to the conclusion of the appeal process, which would result in home ownership opportunities for local people and bring significant investment to the wider area, if planning is granted.”

Phase one, which saw 60 homes created, was followed by a 58-house neighbouring estate, but Gleeson’s planned final phase was mired in controversy due to concerns over road safety.

Access points to phase three would be taken via Prior Croft, according to Gleeson’s application, and would therefore cross a controversial humpback bridge which has been deemed too narrow by the council’s highways team and raised as a concern by Network Rail.

A spokesperson from the Friends of Lowfield Road Action Group (FLAG) urged the Planning Inspectorate to side with the council.

“The increase in traffic which phases one and two generated has resulted in significant congestion - another 97 properties will further add to this,” they added.

“We are not against a realistic-sized development, however phase three should not be allowed as this area cannot safely and sustainably accommodate any further development.”

A council report said the overturning on the decision to reject the scheme would have an ‘unacceptable impact’ on highway safety.

“There has been a long planning history with this site and others developed by Gleeson in the borough.

“This culminated in several planning appeals and enforcement action, related specifically to the use of loose aggregate material for driveways.

“The site is located on the field adjacent to an existing housing estate constructed by Gleeson Homes at Lowfield Road in Bolton-upon-Dearne which is known as Lowfield Park.

“Numerous concerns were raised about the ability of Lowfield Road to safely accommodate the increase in traffic as a result of the development.

“The humpback bridge has a narrow width, and poor forward visibility - it is also pointed out that the bridge has been identified to be a public safety risk by Network Rail.

“The proposals would result in an unacceptable impact on highway safety due to the intensification of use of the railway bridge over Lowfield Road, a known substandard access route.

“Furthermore, the traffic signal scheme, proposed as mitigation by Gleeson, has been assessed as unacceptable in highway safety terms.

“The applicant has not submitted sufficient details to demonstrate that the impact of the development and associated traffic on the wider highway network, and in particular the Station Road and Angle Street junction, can be adequately mitigated to ensure safe, secure and convenient access and movement as required.”