Planners get behind new plans for homes in former Yorkshire pit village

Coun Ralph Sixsmith
Coun Ralph Sixsmith
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The future of a former colliery site once earmarked for commercial development and then turned over to housing could finally be decided after initial plans to build homes there stalled during the recession.

Several plans have been put forward for Goldthorpe Colliery near Barnsley since it closed in the late 1980s. The village eventually became the subject of a council “masterplan” which promised to transform the area and add two new schools and a market.

But planning permission for 190 homes there lapsed before the finance could be secured.

Now a fresh application to put around 125 homes on the site has been lodged by a developer.

However, there is resistance from residents in the area and 24 have written to Barnsley Council to raise objections. Council planners also accept that 125 is a small number of properties for a site of that size.

Because the new application seeks only “outline” permission, more detailed plans could be considered later, if the current one is approved.

Planners have also ruled out building “affordable” housing’, which now has to be offered by developers on large sites, at that location. Instead, they would ask for money from the developer to provide homes elsewhere in the town for those who struggle on the conventional housing market.

Objectors have raised concerns including a lack of demand for housing in the district, based on the number of empty homes there, and the loss of what has become regarded as green space and recreational land.

Some have suggested that empty properties be brought back into use, rather than building new ones, and there are also concerns that having more new homes in the district could damage existing property values.

But Coun Ralph Sixsmith, whose Dearne South ward covers part of Goldsbrorough, said the area urgently needed new housing to replace what he called “chronic” pre-war homes that were already the subject of a redevelopment project.

He said many houses in the village had been misused by private landlords, and added: “We need to get those properties down and new ones put up.”

Coun Sixsmith, who chaired the Renaissance Market Towns programme run by the Labour government’s former development agency Yorkshire Forward, also said the district had favoured housing projects because it had no brownfield sites large enough to attract speculative industrial developers.

He said the site chosen by Rolls Royce at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in neighbouring Rotherham was bigger than all the similar sites in Barnsley combined.

Barnsley’s planners are recommending that councillors approve the housing application when they meet next Tuesday.

• North Yorkshire County Council has confirmed it will go ahead with a controversial programme of “surface dressing” roads around Selby from this weekend.

The work is said to cost a fifth as much as resurfacing.

Transport spokesman Coun Don Mackenzie said: “We know the process is unpopular with some drivers, mainly because of loose chippings.”

But he added: “The speed of the operation and its long-term benefits, as well as the short time for which motorists are inconvenienced, are important factors.”