NEWSLETTER 12

Keep It Green 2014

Newsletter 12# – 3 October 2014

Local Plan Programme

Draft Local Plan Consultation (DLPC)

STOP PRESS! We have been informed that the DLPC documents will not be ready in

time for the 8 October 2014 Cabinet Meeting. They will now be presented at the following

Cabinet Meeting, on 22 October 2014.

This may not affect the previously-advised date of 29 October 2014 for starting the

consultation, but it is possible that this will be delayed to the first week in November. We

will keep you informed.

Link Road Programme

Next, a potentially more serious matter. After weeks of dodging the question, the Council

has finally admitted that their plans for constructing the link road/bypass will be

implemented after the first, Draft stage of the Local Plan Consultation. This means that

they are not going to wait until the Formal stage of the Consultation, nor the Public

Examination by the Government Inspector, before they start spending your money on this

project.

Using the programme dates contained in a document obtained under FOIA and assuming

work will start in earnest after New Year 2015, the link road/bypass programme could look

something like the following:

Transport study Jan 2015

Preliminary design May 2015

Detailed design Nov 2015

Planning application Feb 2016

Construction tender process Mar 2016

Earliest construction start Apr 2016

Earliest construction finish Apr 2017

This is in line with previous Council and developer statements like “nothing will happen

before 2016”, but we had assumed this meant the start of the paperwork, not construction.

Since the Public Examination stage of the Local Plan Consultation is not due until

February/March 2016, it could be reasoned that no serious money will be spent until the

Government Inspector has given his seal of approval to the Local Plan. Even so, a

significant sum (£millions?) would have been wasted IF the scheme does not eventually

go ahead.

However, due to the Council’s claimed need for housing and jobs and the long term

ambition to complete a Northern Orbital Route, the pressure to proceed with the link

road/bypass will be very strong. It is also hard to believe that the design process will not

take into account proposals for developing the land around the bypass, approved or not.

Figures we have seen indicate that the financial rewards available from taking the land

between our communities out of the Green Belt would be very attractive to all concerned

(all except residents that is).

Calculations made by interested parties may include the following assumptions. This

information is not 100% up to date, but we believe that it is reasonably accurate. We may

know more when the Local Plan is published, though perhaps not even then:

25% of the Land Value is available for Abnormal Costs associated with developing the site,

including items such as the strategic link road. This figure assumes that the Land Value

provides funding for three elements to ensure that the development comes forward:

I. Section 106 Contributions to meet Barnsley MBC requirements

2. Maintain a Residual Land Value to encourage the sale of the land for development

3. Deliver funding for Abnormal Costs associated with the development

This looks very much like a “tax” on the sale value of the land after its value has been

escalated by the proposed change of use. In one scenario, the 25% calculation could

yield as much as £26,000,000, based on land values being increased from agricultural

level to land for housing and commercial development. This would be used by the Council

to “deliver” the link road/bypass and fund “other community benefits”, including

presumably, education and medical facilities. No wonder the developers can claim they

have “willing landowners” signed up!

What does this mean for us? It means that we will have to make very strong arguments

against what we anticipate will be in the Local Plan, since the Council clearly think their

proposals will get through. It was always going to be difficult, but this new information just

makes it that much harder.

Results of Draft Local Plan Consultation (DLPC)

On a slightly happier note, we mentioned in Newsletter 11# that we were worried that the

Council had decided that the results of the DLPC would not be published. The Council

have now confirmed that this information will be available to the public, so we will not only

see the amount and strength of objections to the DLPC, but also those in favour of it,

which will help us prepare for the next stage, starting Next July.

Residents meeting with Council Officials

We also mentioned in Newsletter 11# that certain councillors had arranged for a small

number of people to meet officials. That meeting took place on Monday 29 September. It

was arranged by Darton W Ward Councillors for their own constituents. One of our team

qualified but was unable to attend due to other commitments. The Dodworth Councillors

did not appear to know anything about this initiative.

We hope to be able to post a report in due course, after we have a debriefing meeting with

some of those attending.

Spawforths’ plans for meeting individuals

Finally, again in Newsletter 11#, we listed questions put to Spawforths about their intention

to contact residents individually, along with their answers and some questions for you.

The first question was about how the plans for meetings with individual residents came

about. Here’s what Spawforths said:

At the event [the drop in session on 8 July 2014], members of the public requested a

meeting.

We have now had reports back from some of those contacted by Spawforths and the

residents concerned are clear that the opposite is true.

This reinforces our message – avoid getting involved with Spawforths. They are not your

friends.

We have also received other reports on this that suggest that Spawforths have now

stopped pursuing these meetings, stating that the process is “on hold”. It is not clear why,

but is welcome, nevertheless. If you have had a different experience, please let us know.

Ian Preddy

3.10.14

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