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EXCLUSIVE: Council planning to spend £800,000 on Stairfoot traveller site

Barnsley council is planning to spend £800,000 developing a permanent gypsy and traveller site (10 pitches) on land off Sandygate Lane at Stairfoot, Barnsley News understands.

When these proposals were first published in 2008 local residents protested, forcing the council to commission a working party, made up of councillors, officials, local residents and gypsy and traveller representatives, who subsequently made recommendations that the Stairfoot site should be withdrawn.

Now the council has recommended that it goes ahead.

Angry residents are therefore preparing petitions in support of a campaign to prevent it happening.

They are being backed by Stairfoot Ward’s Independent Councillor, Fred Clowery.

In an open letter, Coun Clowery wrote: “With regard to Barnsley Council’s plans to spend £800,000 developing a permanent gypsy and travellers’ site on land located off Sandygate Lane at Stairfoot/Ardsley for ten pitches. Most of us feel a deep disappointment and anger that the council has taken us all for a ride.

“This is a very sensitive and serious issue. When these proposals were first published in 2008 there was a demonstrable display of ill feeling made by over 150 local residents in attendance at an area forum meeting, the council then commissioned a working party made up of councillors, officers, local residents and gypsy and traveller representatives who all made recommendations that the Stairfoot site should be withdrawn.

“The council’s Ruling Labour Cabinet has disregarded all our concerns and recommended the go ahead for this particular location. I have grave concerns regarding the Sandygate Lane site being chosen, especially given its close proximity to Oakhill Primary School, residential and commercial properties, also with draft proposals to develop the former quarry into a wildlife conservation area with permissive footpaths making a safer access for school children with links onto the popular and much used Trans-Pennine Trail.

“I recognise the need to have proper provisions for gypsies and travellers which would help in preventing unauthorised camping sites. There is no shortage of land across Barnsley which would be more accessible and suitable for a gypsy and traveller site and in my opinion the council should withdraw these most outrageous proposals.”

  • The main objections to the site are the close proximity to Oakhill Primary School – it is thought the School itself is organising a petition – and also residential and commercial properties.
  • It will also interfere with draft proposals to develop the former quarry into a wildlife conservation area, with footpaths linking the Trans Pennine Trail making a safer access for schoolchildren.

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