Is our Green belt under threat?

16 10 2013

In July 2012, the Council published its Development Sites and Places Draft Consultation document.  This forms part of the set of strategic development plans for the borough, the Local Development Framework, which will replace the existing unitary development plan. ‘Sites and Places’ considers the potential future uses of land and contains guidelines for making decisions on planning applications.  Of particular interest to us was the 51 ha parcel of green belt land lies north of Hermit Lane, Gawber down to Barugh Green Road.  It has been identified as ‘potential employment land – options from which the final allocation will be chosen. According to the planners, the size of this site will mean that ‘substantial road infrastructure improvements’ will be necessary if it is finally selected.

In January, 2013, the Department for Transport announced £113M funding  for major transport schemes in the Sheffield City Region. (Barnsley is part of this region). This money is reserved for infrastructure projects across the region over a ten year period starting in April, 2015.  The body set up to oversee this investment is the Sheffield City Region Local Transport Body (LTB) which is chaired by Barnsley Council’s Sir Steve Houghton.

As reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on 8th August, 2013, Barnsley Council submitted three infrastructure projects for inclusion in the investment programme.  One of these is Goldthorpe, another is near Grimethorpe and the third is the construction of a new link road connecting the M1 at Dodworth (junction 37) to  Claycliffe (A635).  Barnsley Chronicle reported that this latter project would: “reduce traffic congestion along Higham Common Lane and open up land for businesses and as many as 800 new homes.”  Presumably, this link road forms the substantial infrastructure improvement mentioned in Development Sites and Places.

The prioritised list of infrastructure projects was agreed at the LTB meeting on 26th July, 2013.  The Dodworth/Claycliffe link road was ranked at number 7 in the list of 17 projects.

This week, the Barnsley Chronicle carried a front page story ‘Green belt sites identified for housing’ (18 October, 2013). This reported that a new part of the evidence base for the Local Development Framework, the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), is open for consultation until 1st November, 2013.  The SHLAA identifies hundreds of sites around the borough had been deemed suitable for housing.  These sites have capacity for 40,000 homes but Coun Miller stressed, in the Chronicle article, that ‘the council only intends to build about 20,000 properties over 15 years.”  So, not all of these sites will be included in the Local Plan (the new name for the Local Development Framework).  This is also made clear on the SHLAA page on the council’s website:

“It is important to understand that the SHLAA does not represent a statement of council policy and does not have a bearing on the determination of planning applications. It should be emphasised that the purpose of the SHLAA is not to allocate sites, and this will be done in the Local Plan.”

First sightings of engineering activity on the Dodworth/Claycliffe link road?

Several residents in the Wharfedale Road area have noticed surveying and drilling in the fields at the back of the estate.  One resident has informed us that the drilling was performed on behalf of Strata Homes Yorkshire Ltd.   According to John England, Strata’s Strategic Land Director, they are examining the potential for building houses and commercial properties on the fields behind Wharfedale Road.  The reason for the drilling was to check the accuracy of  some NCB geological reports dealing with the depth of disturbance resulting from open-cast mining. Mr England stressed that this work preliminary and nothing is likely to come of it before 2016.  Of course, there will be public consultation if, or when, firmer proposals materialise.

A spokesman for the council confirmed (25 October, 2014) that this private-sector activity has  “not been commissioned by the Council.  I understand that the site investigation works are being undertaken by developer(s) who may wish to progress development in the area, sometime in the future.”

A second council spokesman added (23 October, 2014) : “Any preparatory works that are currently being carried out will be the responsibility of the landowner. However, because [the site does not] have planning permission at this stage, this work is restricted to preparatory site investigation works.”

The local councillors for the Dodworth ward (this area is part of that electoral ward), Jack Carr, Phillip Birkinshaw and Brian Perrin, have also been contacted. Cllr Carr promtly replied on their behalf.  He said they were aware of long-standing plans to build a road from the M1 at Dodworth down to Barugh Green.  This road would relieve Higham and Barugh Green of a lot of commercial traffic and would be beneficial for those communities.  However, any plans for new homes was news to him.

We received first sight that our green belt is being evaluated for housing in the SHLAA.  In Report Summary 5 and Map 5 (available here), site 215 contains all the green belt land east of the M1 bordering Pogmoor, Gawber and Higham and Barugh Green.  It is considered to be a ‘major site.’ It was evaluated as a category 2 site, suitable for development after the first 5 years of the Local Plan.  Category 2 sites have specific measure to overcome which prevent them being actioned in the first 5 years of the Plan.  The main constraints on the suitability of this site are:

  • It is within 200 metres of an Air Quality Management Area
  • ‘some constraints identified by Highways’.  Could this refer to the substantial infrastructure improvement mentioned in Development Sites and Places which will be probably be resolved the LTB priority number 7 road project?
  • Some treatment of the ground needs to be attended to.
  • But the site  ‘is a location likely to highly attractive to the [executive housing] market.”

What are your views and suggestions?


2nd meeting to discuss the objections to the proposed nickel plant in Dodworth

9 05 2012

Breaking news – ELG have withdrawn their planning application – the nickel processing plant will not be built.  Congratulations to all in Dodworth, and elsewhere, who worked so hard to prevent this plant from coming to our area.

The second objectors’ meeting took place on Wednesday 9th May, 2012 at 7.30 pm in the Dodworth WMC. This was a more informal meeting than the previous one: there was no top table on the stage and those attending sat in fours at tables rather than in rows.  Again, the turnout was excellent for a cool, rainy evening. There were probably 100-150 people in the room.

Essentially, this meeting was arranged to give the ward councillors, minus the one who currently serves on the Planning Regulatory Board and cannot be perceived to have exhibited bias in planning matters, the opportunity to show their support to the campaign.  Their non-attendance at the previous meeting had been questioned in a comment placed on this website.

Cllr Phillip Birkinshaw addressed the meeting.  He explained why he didn’t attend the last meeting.  This was on election day and purdah had prevented his attendance. However, he had been involved with the objection campaign since its early days. The councillor stated that he had personally distributed 2,500 objection leaflets in the village, although he later added that these leaflets were enclosed in his election material.

He announced that there had been hundreds of objections made so far.  These had come from Dodworth and surrounding communities.  Governors at both the local schools had written objection letters. As a result of the number of letters received, the date for consideration of the planning application has been put back.  It will now be considered by the Planning Regulatory Board at its meeting on Tuesday 26th June, 2012.  This meeting should be in the re-opened Town Hall, starting at 2pm. [This is a date for your diary].

Cllr Birkinshaw re-iterated the point made at the previous meeting that one person will be able to speak on behalf of the objectors.  Exactly 5 minutes will be allocated for this.  Planning law dictates this time constraint not the local planning board. The Planning Board is an open meeting, so other objectors will be able to attend to listen to the discussion and watch councillors vote on the application. The co-owner of More for Paws suggested that a ‘professional’ advocate should be commissioned to argue the objectors’ case to the Board.  She also suggested that there should be a whip-round to fund this consultant.  There appeared to be approval for this suggestion at the meeting. A tweeter also added ‘This is a great idea.’ JF has since pointed out that ‘tonight’s collection raised over £100 – some generous souls dropped in tenners! Well done all!’

He pointed out that only valid objections will be accepted. Health risks and pollution were examples. He stated that the application mentioned action would be taken to minimise such risks rather than prevent them entirely. He queried why the company wished to ship the metal to Dodworth for processing rather than dealing with it on their site in Sheffield.  The reason, in his opinion, was that the council in Sheffield would reject the planning application.

On a couple of occasions, when a councillor was speaking and again when a union organiser had the floor, some areas of the room became inpatient as it appeared that party political points were being made which were inconstant with the purpose of this meeting.  However, these interventions showed how people from various political persuasions, and those with none at all, were coming together to defend their current living environment.

The Dodworth Nickel Plant Objection Meeting

3 05 2012

Breaking news – ELG have withdrawn their planning application – the nickel processing plant will not be built.  Congratulations to all in Dodworth, and elsewhere, who worked so hard to prevent this plant from coming to our area.

The objection to the planning application to build the proposed nickel processing plant in Dodworth, was held at 7.30 pm in Dodworth WMC.  A packed concert room, of approximately 200 residents, listened to a range of speakers who shared their views on the proposed metal plant.

Firstly, the applicant company was discussed.  This is a German parent company that operates a number of plants in the UK.  However, the current planning application is the first of this type in this country.  A speaker from the floor had ‘googled’ all of the company sites in the UK and all but one were in areas of heavy industry.  The industrial site in Dodworth contains light industry.  The reporter from the Barnsley Chronicle informed the meeting that she had contacted the company for a comment on the application but this request had been refused.

The objectors said it was their belief that the Barnsley Development Agency were in support of the application because it will create jobs.  Several people were critical of the claim that jobs would be created.  One loacl employer, currently employing 11 staff, felt that her business would fold as customers were persuaded to go else where as a result of the introduction of the new factory. Someone else suggested that few jobs would be created in the factory if current employees relocated to the new site from Rotherham or Sheffield.

An ex-campaigner for Greenpeace outlined her concerns about pollution of the local river. It was claimed that the current application had been judged not to be big enough to warrant an environmental report. She also called upon residents to object to the Planning Department and their MP. Several other speakers re-iterated this last point.  It was mentioned that it was not possible to duplicate letters for people to submit.  Each letter needed to be individually written, although common themes could be mentioned in many letters.  A campaigner in a previous Dodworth objection stressed that the format and phrasing of the letter was important.  In her campaign, many letters were rejected on technicalities.

The organisers informed the meeting that the consultation period had been extended to allow residents longer to object.  The Planning Board will now meet on 29th May.  As Pogmoor residenst may be aware from our dealings with planning issues, the Planning Board meetings are open to the public.  Since the Town Hall closed, these meetings have taken place in the lecture room at the central library.  When we attended, there was probably room for 20-30 observers to the meeting.  Some of the observers might be colleagues of the applicant.  The applicant and one objector are permitted to speak for 5 minutes each.  Dodworth residents were encouraged to attend the Planning meeting en masse.

There were several requests to form an action plan and advertise this locally.  The objectors said that notices would be placed on prominent sites around the village.  Updates will be available in Dodworth library, for instance. We will help to keep Pogmoor area residents up to date with news as we receive it.

One speaker pointed out that this was not merely a Dodworth issue.  Any pollution would be carried in the prevailing winds to Gawber, Pogmoor and onwards into central Barnsley.  Consequently, concerned Pogmoor area residents might also wish to object.  Please note that there is still time to object, but act soon. A list of reasons for objecting can be found here.

If you were at the meeting and didn’t get round to speaking, or couldn’t make it, what points would you like to make?  Please leave your comments below.

The Objection to the Nickel Plant in Dodworth

16 04 2012


Breaking news – ELG have withdrawn their planning application – the nickel processing plant will not be built.  Congratulations to all in Dodworth, and elsewhere, who worked so hard to prevent this plant from coming to our area.


The planning application (2012/03515) to build a plant for processing and recycling nickel, in a disused building on the Fallbank Industrial Estate, was submitted in March, 2012. According to the applicant, the proposal is for a process ‘ involving [the] treatment , processing and recycling [of] high nickel alloy swarf including [the] alterations to [the] building, installation of a thermal oxidiser chimney stack and installation of four flood lights.’

Modern factories of this nature are highly-regulated and frequently monitored.  However, there is recent local evidence that other metal recycling plants sometimes emit pollution that is potentially harmful to those living in the area.

Dodworth residents objections

This application is causing concern amongst Dodworth residents.  Here is a summary of their objections.

a) Planning Submission and Change of Use as ‘foot in door’

  1. ELG Haniel Metals Ltd state clearly that they intend to expand on the site so any problems as anticipated from the planning submission will, in time, be increased – possibly many-fold.  This may not require further planning permission so the submission is for a ‘foot-in-the-door’ to do what they like in future.
  2.  It may also open up opportunities for other heavy recycling on this site.

b) Unsuitable site

  1. There is no heavy industry on the Fall Bank Estate.  It was therefore reasonable to build a housing estate right up to the edge.  This means that the site Haniel has chosen in now directly abutting a residential area.  Indeed, the whole of Dodworth and other surrounding areas are likely to be affected.
  2. The plans show that Haniel have chosen to place the Thermal Oxidiser and new vehicle entrance as close as possible to the neighbouring residential area.  This increases any danger from explosion, emissions or noise.
  3.  The site is also extremely close to Green Belt and open countryside/farming areas.  It is not a heavy industrial area.
  4.  Many of the other, lighter, industries on the site may also find problems with the proposal and may choose to leave, reducing job opportunities and income to Barnsley.

b) Air-borne emissions and pollution at ground level.

  1. Attempts will be made to control (not prevent entirely) emissions.  However, we know that there are always breakdowns in filtering systems.  Haniel Metals in Tinsley has a very bad reputation for emissions. (See article quoted on cover letter.)
  2. Small amounts of nickel and other metals will inevitably ‘escape’ through the doors.
  3.  Emissions through the Thermal Oxidiser and stack will include “volatile organic compounds and particulates”, heavy metals including, amongst others, chromium, cobalt and nickel, NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) and CO2 (Carbon Dioxide).  It is argued that amounts will be ‘insignificant’ when the filtering system works.  Many of these are toxic to humans and some are carcinogenic.
  4.  Thus it may, at times, be dangerous to be outside.  People will not know when.
  5.  Winds will carry emissions to all of Dodworth, surrounding villages and in towards Barnsley e.g. Pogmoor and the hospital.
  6.  Ex miners, with existing respiratory problems, the elderly and children, will be particularly at risk.
  7.  Fruit and vegetables in gardens, allotments and hedgerows will be compromised and no longer edible as it will not be known whether they have been affected.
  8.  Heavy metals may get into the milk and other aspects of the food chain on local farmland.
  9.  This kind of metal waste is known to be subject to contamination with radioactive waste, as on the Haniel site in Sheffield in 1993.
  10.  The waste storage area is supposedly to be designed to ‘minimise’, not prevent ‘the risk of waste and contaminants from escaping into the environment.’
  11.  The desirability of building new housing in the area will be significantly reduced.  Developers will be aware if this.

c) Noise

  • Noise pollution is inevitable in what is otherwise a quiet area, next to a residential estate, – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Haniel cannot say how noisy the shot-blasting, vibrator tables and Oxidiser will be.  They do not know but claim it will not be a problem.  Nor is the noise of the roller shutter doors mentioned. Tests have been made at a height of 1.5m from the ground.  This does not take into account bedrooms at three stories in height and in line of sight to the plant.
  •  Planning permission is sought on the basis of 30 vehicle movements a week.  Since Haniel intend to expand beyond the original plans, the nuisance from vehicles will increase in relation to the increase in movements.  This increase may not be subject to control.
  •  Barnsley General Guidance on Noise: noisy activities should, if possible, be sited away from noise-sensitive land uses.(…..such as residential areas.)
  •  Note that the noisy activities are to be sited 60 metres from residential buildings.

d) Light pollution

Floodlights at 12 metres height near to bedrooms. These may be downlighters but will still be a problem.

e) Job creation

It is unclear from the submission how many jobs will be created.  In one place it mentions 15, in another 20.  Then expansion will create more.  It is clear that some workers, if not all, will be imported from outside Barnsley.  The jobs will be low skilled. It is not clear what jobs will be lost if industries move away from the estate.

f) Sustainability

If the waste is coming from Sheffield, why transport it up the motorway? There are brown field sites nearer to the origin.  Workers transferred from Sheffield will also have to travel. The plant is also a threat to farmland and greenbelt countryside.

Letter of Objection

This is a typical letter of objection to the planning application submitted to the Planning Department by Dodworth residents.

Objection from a Pogmoor chartered engineer

 I wish to place a formal objection to this proposal on the following grounds:
This proposal is trying to develop a major heavy industrial processing plant by using a change of use approach, whereas all the other developments within this Industrial Estate have been of relatively light industry.
If you examine the Wikipedia entry for Nickel you will find quite a bit about thismetal’s toxicity. This is the metal by itself!!
Furthermore when you examine the Alloys of this material, many of them have additional toxicity due to the nature of the additives, which are known to affect human tissue. There is no proposed restriction on the metals to be processed at this plant.
This company specialises in the recovery of metals using thermal and other processes that result in the generation of fumes and microscopic particles.
Whilst the company is strictly controlled by Health and Safety conditions within the workplace, these are not so strictly controlled regarding external emissions.
Unless the Company can produce data and can confirm effective monitoring and control of the external emissions from its proposed smelter and other dust extractors, then this application should be opposed
on the basis that we, the local residents in the Pogmoor Area, are down wind of the prevailing south-westerly winds and that wind-blown particle emissions could be unwillingly ingested, to the potential detriment of our health.
This could apply equally to the whole of Barnsley, as the siting seems to be inappropriate to the welfare of all. (I personally have seen the effects of metal pollution from heavy industry on the residents of a town and the medical problems faced by the residents there. I have no wish to see this happen to Barnsley folk).
I have seen a statement that “factories in the USA have not given cause for concern” and this is spurious. American companies have a notorious track record of pollution. You only have to see the results of Bhopal!
Indeed the USA is so vast that many of these plants are in remote areas close to the source of materials andnowhere near residential areas.
The Residents of Champneys Estate will be subjected to additional noise and pollution by the siting of a lorry access and the proposed kiln on the south side of the industrial unit. There is no need for this to be there as there is plenty of existing access to the east and the Kiln can be sited on either the West or East walls of the unit. Indeed there is plenty of room within the building for a rearrangement of the working zones to accommodate a change in the layout without affecting the company’s operations should the proposal be accepted.
If the Company insist that there must be access on the south side and, of necessity, this requires the doors opening to release internal noise, then there should be a time limit placed on the opening of these doors from 0800 to 1800 hours to shield the local residents from the noise at night, when children have been put to bed, as this proposal is for a unit that operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 52 weeks in a year.
Finally why  should our Council allow it’s residents and ratepayers to be subject to an application that gives no detail as to the actual process and the potential pollution from this plant?

Latest news from @WendiTurner5 on Twitter

  • : Jobs under threat on Fall Bank due to H & S implications on other businesses near the proposed Nickel Alloy Plant
  •  @DearneFM news at 8…People in Dodworth say they’re concerned about the health impacts a Nickel recycling plant will have on them.
  • @WendiTurner5: Great news residents want a public meeting…good idea…details to follow
  • Public Meeting now confirmed re planning app for Nickel Alloy Plant Dodworth 3 May 7.30 Dodworth WM Club opposite Station Pub..coming?
  • Media: Barnsley Chron front page n letters Sheffield BBC, Dearne FM, Hallam thanks guys. Our Dodworth quality of life feels appreciated x
  • More For Paws have apprentices if they lose their jobs they have to start their course again. Been to my house,only kids, lets get on board
  • Next week support from a lovely angle cant wait to get involved,inclusion, sustainability, quality of life locally…keep tuned x n thank u
  • Did u hear that More For Paws will have to make 11 redundant if this goes ahead
  • Hi…gosh its been a busy week! have so much positive next week…other positive support in store
  • Barnsley Chron [4/5/12] page “Your Letters” excellent letter about Nickel Plant…Hitting Nail On Head x thanks to Jeff x

West Road Site – meeting with Dan Jarvis

8 07 2011

 The public meeting to discuss the future of West Road, organised by Dan Jarvis, took place on Wednesday 20th July, 2011 in Barnsley Central library.

The meeting was well-attended, with approx 40-50 people present.  This included many local residents, landowners and all the Old Town councillors.  Dan Jarvis was accompanied by his constituency manager and a planning officer from the council.  A wide variety of views were aired and all who wanted to speak had the opportunity.

Dan Jarvis summed up his thoughts of the meeting on Twitter as follows:

“Very pleased with West Rd, Pogmoor Public Meeting. Really great so many people came & joined in good, constructive discussion. Thanks all.”

Local residents might hold a range of opinions as to what they would like to happen to the south side of West Road.  But surely few would disagree that we need to join with the people who live in West Road and Cresswell Street in their quest to improve their local environment.

Planning Board refuses planning permission for West Road

5 07 2011

The Planning Regulatory Board met this afternoon in the central library. The second-fourth items on the agenda were the three applications for outline permission to develop some of West Road as a mixed-use site.

The meeting took place in the lecture theatre, with the chair and officers on the platform, the members of the board in a u-shaped arrangement below the platform, looking at plans appearing on a large projector screen. The public area at the back of the room was packed, with approximately 40 people, who were there to watch the progress of three different applications.

When the West Road applications were heard, Vicky Simpson spoke first, followed by a resident who supported her applications. After this Joe Jenkinson, from Planning, presented the case against the applications, making the points outlined in the officer’s report. Several councillors then raised matters relating to the plans.

When a vote was called for, two councillors abstained, with the rest voting to refuse the applications.

Most of the points discussed were quite technical and not particularly easy to follow. However, in conclusion, the Board felt that proposals to develop the south side of West Road for housing/mixed uses should not be considered prior to the adoption of the Sites & Places Development Plan Document, which forms part of the newly-introduced Local Development Framework. The Sites & Places document will take a fresh look at which sites should allocated for employment and which should be made available for housing. The timetable for introducing this is: approval by the council cabinet in the Autumn followed by consultation after that. Many of us will be interested to read, and comment on, this plan. And many of us will be interested to find out how we influence what the plan says for the south side of West Road.

West Rd Planning applications – Planner’s recommend refusal

29 06 2011

The planning applications for West Road go before the Planning Regulatory Board next Tuesday.  The planning officer’s recommendations have been made public today.  As suggested on this website on Sunday, by a Pogmoor resident, the recommendation to the Board is to refuse permission for this outline planning application.

The previous application, for a gypsy site, attracted 200+ objections from local people.  Interestingly, this time, local opinion was not against the applications in principle.  Eighteen residents wrote letters of support for the scheme and just two objections were received.

The reasons given for recommending refusal are as follows:

  1. Employment land – Barnsley Council’s core strategy calls for 350ha of employment land, with 130-155ha in urban Barnsley.  This site fails the criteria for change of use from employment land to mixed-use.  This is because it is judged that it will result in job losses from adjacent land (due to restrictions on it caused by having housing nearby) and because there is already a lack of employment land locally.
  2. Piecemeal development – The applicant would have been better advised to have submitted one overall plan rather than three separate plans.  There is concern that the overall plan might not come to fruition.  Furthermore, there is no precident for the piecemeal re-development of a wider employment area. However, the applicant has been advised to seek re=designation of the whole of this side of West Rd as residential when the new Sites and Places Development Strategy is adopted by the council.
  3. Suitability for employment use – The applicant argues that this site can no longer support employment use.  The officer disagrees, stating that this is a prime location between the town centre and the motorway.  Most of it is at a lower level than surrounding houses, restricting its impact upon them.
  4. Suitability for residential use – It would be suitable if the whole of that side of the road was re-designated as residential.  With the current, piecemeal approach, the residential element does not meet the quality criteria in the planning strategy.

Assuming that the Planning Board adopts the recommendations of the planning officer, and refuses these applications, where does that leave us?

As the officer points out in his report:
“This is a dirty industrial/skip yard/waste transfer station at the heart of a densely-populated residential location.  Keeping the site in its existing use would result in environmental problems.”
Your comments would be appreciated.