A CONTROVERSIAL decision which saw plans for almost 200 homes narrowly approved following a tie-breaking vote at a heated meeting last week must see provisions put in place to ease traffic woes, a councillor has insisted.

Avant Homes received permission to build 179 houses on fields which neighbour the Trans Pennine Trail off Smithy Wood Lane and Calver Close, near Dodworth, by the tightest of margins.

The plan had looked set to be rejected when councillors on the planning board hit eight against and seven for until chairman Coun Ken Richardson - whose casting decision in a rare tie-break situation carries more weight - voted in favour, meaning approval was granted.

The housing site - which will be known as Hay Green Park - is split into two by Smithy Wood Lane, which will see 38 homes to its west and 141 to its east.

Coun Chris Wray, who represents the Dodworth ward, said: “The approval of the homes via what was such a close vote - eight against and eight in favour at the end - shows the concerns that were raised by myself and other councillors are strong.

“Particular attention around traffic issues, access, biodiversity, the layout of certain housing and more need to be addressed.

“Following the meeting, I did speak to officers who assured me concerns like the traffic going into the site during the development phase would be taken into account.

“I am speaking to officers about the issues that are frequently raised by myself, residents and other councillors, such as traffic around Dodworth’s High Street and further afield.”

A total of 33 letters of objection were received which predominantly cited increased traffic, the already busy local road network, loss of green space on the well-used Trans Pennine Trail route and the impact on wildlife.

However, both parcels of land were allocated for development purposes in the council’s local plan blueprint, although initial plans to access the site from Smithy Wood Lane were dropped in favour of using Calver Close.

‘Restricted’ working hours will be controlled, the council confirmed, with 8am while 6pm timeframes being set Monday to Friday and 9am while 2pm on Saturday, with no work being permitted on Sundays and bank holidays.

A spokesperson from Avant Homes added: “We are committed to building quality new homes for everyone in popular residential locations - Smithy Wood Gate is an excellent example of this.

“We now look forward to starting work on the new and thriving community that we are building in Dodworth, providing practically designed, energy-efficient homes at various price points.

“The development has a mix of properties that will appeal to everyone from first-time buyers, to second-steppers, families and downsizers.

“Now that planning has been granted, we fully anticipate that these homes will prove extremely popular with prospective buyers in the local area.

“Our objective as a housebuilder is to build quality new homes for everyone.”