A CONTROVERSIAL scheme which will result in a new link road being constructed - set to pave the way for 1,500 homes to be built on former green belt land - has started.

MU1, which separates communities such as Barugh Green, Higham and Pogmoor, is the subject of plans to build 1,500 homes, a new primary school, warehouses for business use, a series of roads and two roundabouts which will connect both ends of the site.

It is the largest swathe in Barnsley Council’s so-called local plan - a blueprint which outlines future housing and business areas in the borough for the next ten years - at 122 hectares and has long been sought for development by a consortium known as Sterling Strata Barnsley West.

The first of the two new roundabouts - which received planning permission from the council in November 2020 - is being created off Barugh Green Road, with work now underway.

A spokesperson the consortium said: “The new roundabouts will be formed on Higham Common Road and Barugh Green Road to provide a northern and southern access into the proposed mixed-use development and will connect (subject to planning) to provide a new link road through the site.

“Planning permission for the roundabouts was granted in November 2020.

“The contractor undertaking the works is Core SP, who specialise in major projects such as this, and have submitted information to the council regarding the methodology and sequence of work to deliver these works.

“Works to create both roundabouts will progress simultaneously and the full programme length is expected to be ten months.

“People may have noticed that mobilisation works have begun in readiness - the topsoil has been stripped in the field off Barugh Green Road and a site compound has been erected.

“The listed milestone post has been removed for safekeeping whilst the works are undertaken and it shall be re-homed.

“Core SP have worked closely with Barnsley Council and service providers to agree an appropriate programme of works and suitable traffic management throughout the course of the works, to ensure minimal traffic disturbance.

“Barnsley has a growing need for housing and employment space and this site will play an important role in realising that requirement over the next 15 years.”

The council received £10.63m for the scheme - which forms the link road and associated alterations - from the Local Government Fund (LGF).

It’s the biggest change to Barnsley’s 750-mile road network since the council announced its plan to create a new one-way gyratory in the nearby Dodworth ward.

A council report said: “The primary role of this development is to provide access to the MU1 site.

“The proposal comprises a five-arm roundabout on Higham Common Road, which provides access to the MU1 site together with an arm dedicated to the properties west of Higham Common Road.

“The roundabout schemes, together with the provision of the link road, will lead to traffic reassignment when the link road is operational.

“For residents in the local area this will lead to a welcomed reduction in HGV movement through Higham in the long run.”