Meeting in uproar

A travellers site.
A travellers site.

over 300 angry people piled in to a Darfield venue to voice their loud protest to the prospect of a second travellers’ site at Darfield.

The first of two planned public meetings at Illsley Road Community Centre was rowdy and difficult, as people fought for the chance to speak against a Barnsley Council proposal for land off Doncaster Road.

Residents, the owner of the land concerned and even travellers who are currently based at Darfield on another, permanent site are all determined that a new travellers’ site will not materialise by the A635.

Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher was not at last Thursday’s meeting, but has added his voice to the potential loss of the ‘green lung’ surrounding the village, saying the site is not appropriate for what is proposed.

Barnsley Council must provide 39 more traveller pitches between now and 2016 to satisfy government requirements, and a consultation period for people to give their views on this and wider plans for the area ends on September 28.

A 2007 report stated that preferred locations for permanent sites in South Yorkshire were in the west of Barnsley and at Rotherham. And all previous planning applications for the area have been rejected.

Darfield Councillor Brian Key who chaired the meeting, said: “The first meeting was noisy, agitated and emotional. It was difficult as everyone wanted to have their say and get their points across. There was a representative of the permanent travellers’ site in Darfield there, and he suggested an expansion of their facility off Ings Road.

“Everyone agreed that the site proposed off the A635 is too open, is needed as green space, is by a dangerously busy road with a lot of overhead pylons and power pipeline running under it.

“The message was strong and clear from everyone present. We look forward to making a submission and taking it forward from there.”

Councillors distributed leaflets throughout the village ahead of the meeting, outlining what it was about and informing people how to contact their MP and elected representatives.

A second public meeting will take place on Saturday from 10.30am at Illsley Road, following the listing of protest points to be endorsed by villagers before being handed in to council officers.