AN appeal to create a 116-space car park in the town centre - which came after the council rejected the plans earlier this year - has been dismissed by the government due to concerns around public safety.
An application was submitted in March 2022 by Wayne Hadfield to create the car park on disused land on Old Mill Lane, near Barnsley College’s STEM building.
However, the council rejected the plans on the basis that the car park would cause ‘an unacceptable impact on highway safety’ - prompting Mr Hadfield to submit an appeal to the government’s planning inspectorate.
However after a four-month-long process - which culminated in a government agent visiting the site - it was revealed last week that the appeal had been dismissed.
A report said that Barnsley Council believed the site had been used previously as an unauthorised car park - and it’s not the first time an appeal for a car park at the same site had been rejected.
Access to the site is between two stone railway bridges on Old Mill Lane, which planning inspector Mr F Wilkinson described as ‘heavily trafficked’ and he found Barnsley Council’s concerns about how vehicles would get into, and then out of, the site justified.
The planning history of the site is complex, because it was earmarked by the council as a potential site for parking, as long ago as 2000 - though that was dependent on suitable access arrangements.
An application to create a car park there was also rejected in 2015.
The report states: “The main issues are the effects of the proposal on the safe and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians at the site and on the surrounding highway network - and whether the proposal makes appropriate provision for sustainable transport modes.
“Given the size of the proposed car park, with space for 115 vehicles, the daily movements to and from the site would markedly increase traffic volumes in the area.
“The access to the site would lie in between two railway bridges which cross Old Mill Lane and their abutments.
“These abutments greatly limit visibility along Old Mill Lane in both directions.
“The appellant proposes a signalised junction to address visibility issues and to manage right hand turns into and out of the site.”
The proposal would have provided two full-time jobs - but the inspector said this would have ‘very limited’ economic benefit which would not ‘outweigh the harm’.
He concluded that the appeal should be dismissed.
“I am unable to conclude that it would be possible to develop a car park at the site without unacceptable harm being caused to the safe and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians at the site and on the surrounding highway network,” he added.
“This is a matter of overriding concern and to this extent there would be conflict with the development plan when considered as a whole.
“Therefore, the appeal should be dismissed.”
Mr Hadfield added: “Because I undercut the council’s car parks by half for students, they do everything in their power to stop the car park.
“‘Double standards’ is not the term when it comes to Barnsley’s planning department.”