FRESH calls for a park and ride scheme to be introduced to serve Barnsley Hospital have been made after it was revealed residents spent more than £860,000 to park at the site last year.

It has already been confirmed by the council that a feasibility into the long-awaited plans would take place due to growing concerns over congestion.

A meeting was subsequently held to discuss the would-be venue - previously mooted for land near Dodworth’s Capitol Park - after almost 300 people signed a petition in favour of its creation.

Barnsley Council accepted a recommendation from its in-house scrutiny group to carry out a feasibility study for the project, which has been spearheaded by ex-councillor Peter Fielding due to poor air quality in Gawber and Pogmoor.

However, according to a report obtained by the Chronicle, the study’s conclusion will take ‘some time’ to complete due to the work such a big scheme would entail.

Coun Chris Wray, who has been campaigning for the park and ride scheme, told the Chronicle there has been little-to-no update over the past year - and has now called on the council to offer a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for residents.

He said: “In July 2022, Barnsley Council’s ruling cabinet accepted the proposal for a feasibility study on park and ride for the hospital.

“It was supposed to take around twelve weeks.

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“Roughly 36 weeks later, Coun Peter Fielding put forward a petition with over 300 signatures for a park and ride scheme because we’d heard nothing.

“The next month, we had confirmation that a feasibility study had been commissioned.

“We’re here again, roughly 37 weeks later, with nothing to show.”

Coun Wray highlighted the £862,000 Barnsley residents had spent on parking at the Gawber Road site last year as an issue, believing that a park and ride scheme could solve residents’ woes.

He added: “There is nothing to show besides almost £1m spent by Barnsley residents on parking fees alone.

“Add that to the health damage to residents and the financial cost to the NHS on missed appointments.

“Then there is the issue of air quality around the hospital due to near-constant gridlock during peak times, remembering a school is only across the road, and the issues residents near the hospital have with people being forced to park there.

“As the situation gets considerably worse for everybody who has the unfortunate need to visit the hospital and those who live around it or must travel by it, the council is piling on the pain by a seeming unwillingness to tackle a worsening issue.

“I can only imagine how much the hospital and staff are crying out for a solution - it’s just that the will from the council is seemingly lacking.”