Gypsy site planning application – the objection speech

10 04 2011

The residents of Pogmoor strongly oppose any change of use to the land at West Road Pogmoor. The prioritised reasons for this are as follows:

A. The land is designated industrial land.

The land is in an ideal position for small industrial units being less than 1 mile from J37.

Good examples of these small units can be seen in the Sycamore Street and Redbrook area, all are occupied and operating in harmony alongside residential properties and for potential workers it would be accessible by foot from the town centre and also the Pogmoor area.

Attracting small businesses is something which Barnsley urgently needs.

This was recognised immediately by Dan Jarvis MP when he stated that one of his main objectives was to attract more industry to Barnsley.

More so, now that the government is expecting the private sector to absorb most of the losses from the public sector.

Re-designating this land would be totally irresponsible in the present financial climate and erode our new MP’s vision of Barnsley within months of him taking office.

Two companies on West Road intend to recruit but are waiting for today’s decision before setting-on staff.

B. Proximity to a railway line.

Allocating the land for a gypsy site has major health & safety implications.

Number 1 being how close it is to the main Huddersfield to Barnsley railway line.

Two passenger trains an hour use the single track line from 06.00 hrs to 24.00hrs, this is excluding any freight traffic.

The average speed over the distance from Barnsley to Dodworth is 30m.p.h. calculated using the formula – distance divided by time. (3miles/6mins)

Allowing for acceleration and braking etc it’s estimated that trains would pass the site at somewhere between 50 to 60 mph.

By applying the HSE’s risk assessment 5 steps method, INDG 163.

Step1. The hazard is the trains.

Step2. Those at risk would be mainly children and young persons, which traditionally for these sites are in high numbers.

Step3. The present control measure is a metal fence which in nearly all cases, where a high number of children play, would be breached within a short time. A railway line being a classic allurement for children.

Step4. Therefore, the probability of young people getting onto the line is high; the outcome of this would be a fatality. Resulting in a risk factor of “Very High”.

In an industrial situation the outcome would be stop the process immediately.

Step5. We obviously cannot move the railway or guarantee the resilience of the fence; the obvious choice is the removal of those at risk by not allowing a site which would hold a high number of children, who, because of their culture enjoy an outdoor life style which involves off-road bikes and animals.

Under the Occupiers Liability Act the railway would be accountable

Half way

However a counter claim would be submitted on the grounds that the council’s risk assessment for the site did not qualify as being suitable and sufficient. Negligence would be easy to prove.

The decided case in law is Herrington v British Rail 1972.

There could also be a slight risk to passengers, grassfires, emergency braking etc.

There was 11 million acts of trespass on railway lines committed by the under 16s last year. On average Sixty people are killed and many more are horribly injured every year.

C. Increase in Traffic

The Highways Transport Development Control has estimated that the potential increase to traffic to be in the order of 9 to 11 movements per pitch per day.

This would add 275, 2 way vehicle movements per day entering and leaving West Road. It would also be naïve to think that everyone would use the West Road/ Pogmoor Road junction.

Alternative routes would be taken via Cresswell Street already heavily congested by residents and hospital workers parked cars.

It would also have an indirect affect on all other roads in the area which would be used as “rat runs” Intake lane, Pennine Way, Warner Road, etc.

The Driving Test Centre is also situated on West Road; candidates enter and leave West Road continually throughout the working day 5 days a week.

Learner drivers also use the road and surrounding roads 7 days a week in preparation for their driving test.

An increase of 275 vehicle movements on a road heavily congested with parked cars is not ideal for learner drivers or for the residents of the proposed site.

Pogmoor Road passing West Road is also used by every ambulance responding to emergency calls to the South of the hospital and also general non-emergency hospital traffic.

Consideration must also take into account the proposed new entrance to the hospital off Pogmoor Road.

West Road is situated opposite a 24 hour service station and four roads which feed to Pogmoor Road to the North side and two roads from the South.

The large increase in traffic will also have safety issues for pedestrian traffic in particular school children going to Holgate, Kingstone, Summer Lane and St Mary’s.

A new school is also being built which will accommodate 2000 children.


D. Schools

The local authority has a legal duty to educate children.

Due to the itinerant nature of gypsy families the children are in a continual educational catch-up situation. This will have an effect on all pupils unless funding is made available for additional teachers.

If this application is approved the council will be failing in their legal, moral and economic responsibilities to the residents of the proposed site, Pogmoor and surrounding area

Thank you for your time.