SWATHES of land which could become home to thousands of new properties in the next four years have been identified - despite calls being made for a re-think into the rate of housing developments in Barnsley.

Barnsley Council’s new draft housing strategy states that there is potential for more than 9,000 new homes in central Barnsley, 2,500 in Hoyland, 2,800 in Goldthorpe and Dearne, 2,000 in Wombwell, 1,300 in both Royston and Cudworth and 1,000 in Penistone.

A report revealed 7,099 new houses have been built in the borough since April 2014, as well as a further 2,500 which were classed as affordable homes.

However, despite campaign groups such as Keep It Green, REACH and Stop MU2 and MU3 all calling for the council to protect its remaining green spaces, the draft policy is set to be signed off by ruling cabinet members on Wednesday ahead of its full adoption at a future full council meeting.

The council report said: “This is an ambitious housing strategy and there are significant risks and challenges in resourcing and delivering against the strategy both locally and regionally.

“One of the key risks is ensuring that we can meet both general and specialist housing needs requirements and maintain the supply of housing.

“Our council housing stock is reducing year-on-year due to the Right to Buy scheme and we are currently unable to build sufficient replacement homes.

“The council must make some difficult decisions in prioritising the allocation of general needs accommodation for specific service users, which has a huge impact on council revenue costs.

“Significant internal consultation has already been undertaken with key officers.

“It is proposed that a four-week online public consultation on the strategy will commence.

“It will also be possible to view and provide comments on the strategy at local libraries.”

The Chronicle understands the consultation - if approved by cabinet - will run from four weeks, opening on October 14 and closing on November 11.

Pete Deakin, from REACH, added: “Access to the countryside has been a really important safeguard for so many people during the pandemic.

“It emphasised the importance of access to nature to help people’s mental and physical welfare.

“We believe Barnsley Council needs to engage with local communities to develop plans that meet local needs and ambitions.

“This land used for walking and recreation is being taken away from people - what will the council and developers give back in return?”