I been contacted by a number of local residents in Darton, Mapplewell and Staincross about the ongoing application to build 68 houses on the land south of Darton Lane (planning application number 2091/1244).
The Church Commissioners, who own the land in question, have submitted revised plans, which include some changes to the original proposals – including a reduction from 73 properties to 68; and the repositioning of a driveway for access to the site. Whilst I welcome the fact that the Church Commissioners have engaged with local residents’ comments that were made in relation to the original plans, these revisions do not satisfy my concerns about the application.
I share the following concerns that have been raised with me about this proposal:
- Loss of green space and impact on ecology and biodiversity. Changes to the application have not resulted in overall retention of green space, merely that different parts of the site will be lost.
- Increased risk of flooding. Especially concerns about flash flooding around the proposed access to the development, which there has been increased instances of in recent years.
- Traffic safety and highway infrastructure. The revised plans include the creation of an additional driveway adjacent to Pye Avenue, increasing the risk of road traffic accidents. There is single access to the village and the area is already incredibly busy at peak times. Residents find it difficult to get around by car. There are also concerns about road safety as it is hazardous when on foot.
- Infrastructure and amenities. Schools in the area are already oversubscribed and GP services stretched.
- Erosion of the boundary between Darton and Mapplewell, resulting in the loss of village identity.
I have previously taken a clear position on the issue of housing development. I believe that we need to ensure that there is a sustainable supply of housing – including homes that are genuinely affordable – to meet the needs of local people. However, this must always be carefully balanced against the impact of developments upon the existing local community and the need to protect our vital green spaces. That is why I raised my strong concerns about the proposed developments at Staincross Common and Darton Lane.
I very much understand and share the concerns that have been raised with me about this proposed development. As a Member of Parliament I do not have any formal powers to direct or influence matters relating to planning. That is the responsibility of Barnsley Council’s Planning Regulatory Board. I have, however, written to the Planning Regulatory Board to formally set out the concerns that residents have raised with me. You can find a copy of my letter below.