A NEW sports centre which will replace a facility 900 metres away has finally been given the green light - despite campaigners battling against the ‘further destruction’ of green space in Hoyland.
Rockingham Sports Ground will be moved to a new site at Parkside after Barnsley Council’s planning board granted approval on Tuesday.
Coun Andrew Wray, who represents the Rockingham ward, said residents’ voices hadn’t been taken into consideration and dubbed it a ‘sad day for the community’ - but voted in favour of the move.
“I voted in favour because more people wanted it than were against it,” he said. “I was against it but as I mentioned in my campaign I said I would represent residents’ views.
“Parkside’s field has been a big part of not just my life, but the community of Hoyland Common.
“Generations of people have enjoyed the freedom it has gave them for various activities.
“My football team was the last team to play on that field, leaving it around 1989, but for the last 30 years it has been neglected, some would say purposely to allow this development to be allowed years later.
“Has the council let it out to fallow on purpose?
“There is already a good standard development in Hoyland Common - it’s called Rockingham - so why is this being sold off in the first place?.
“Why are the council intent on taking all the green space off Hoyland Common people?
“Losing this field, a field which is on the perimeter of a large housing estate has not gone down well within our community.
“We only have Tinker Lane, or King George Field left now as an open space due to the continuous building of warehouses, which possibly won’t be filled for some years to come.
“I know our community is getting a state-of-the-art development and it is indeed a great facility, however the voices of the residents - especially around the housing estate behind the development - haven’t been taken into consideration..
“This was a done deal before I was elected - this is truly a sad day for our community.”
Just one person - Coun Nicola Sumner, who also represents the Rockingham ward - voted against the plan.
Planning bosses said the relocation to the site will ‘provide a new purpose-built community and sports facility to replace the existing building at Rockingham which is no longer fit for purpose’.
The new site will include a single-story 40.5-metre by 17.9-metre building with a reception area, cafe, studio spaces, two full-size sports team changing rooms, changing rooms for sports officials, accessible changing rooms, and a floodlit artificial grass sports pitch.
Sixty-four car parking spaces will be provided, as well as an overspill car park for a further 30 vehicles.
Their report said that the new site ‘is likely to reduce the incidence of antisocial behaviour as a result of organised activities on the site’.
It added: “While there are concerns about potential bad language, the pitch is at a considerable distance from properties, and it is unlikely that words would be able to be distinguished at this distance.”