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
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
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
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
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.