A BID to protect Penistone Recreation Ground from property developers has been abandoned.
Penistone Town Councillors, upset at encroachment from a proposed multi-million Tesco scheme, had hoped to safeguard the land by securing village green status.
As reported last month, councillors initially voted to apply for village green status – but then discovered that this might have led to the Penistone Show having to move, due to restrictions on operating money-making activities on village greens. They have now voted to revoke the application, after negotiations with Dransfield Properties, Tesco’s developer, led to an extra piece of compensatory land behind Schole Avenue being acquired.
“The over-riding reason for making a village green status application was that too much of our precious green space was being eroded. The fact that compensatory land has now been offered, which more than replaces the land lost to the supermarket development, is excellent news,”said town councillor and Village Green Steering Group member Chris Pilkington.
“We feel there are much better and more effective solutions for protecting the recreation ground – solutions which would ensure that the future of events such as Penistone Show can be safeguarded without restrictions.
“We were never opposed to the town centre regeneration scheme and we look forward to this much needed development coming to Penistone.”
Dransfield had originally hoped to begin the £15m Tesco centred project, including new fire and ambulance stations and markets, in mid 2007, but plans have been delayed by a number of re-designs and a litany of challenges by Stephen Green of Yorkshire Land Limited.
Only last month, Yorkshire Land Limited challenged the Tesco plan at the High Court, but judge, Mr Justice Sullivan, dismissed the application for a judicial review, saying it was “hopeless and absurd” and ordered Yorkshire Land to pay Barnsley Council’s legal costs.
No one from Yorkshire Land was available for comment but Dransfield Properties Public Relations Manager, Amanda Holmes, told the Express & Chronicle the legal battle was still not over as Mr Green was appealing. She added the gift of the 1.1 acre paddock at Schole Avenue was over and above what they had been required to do.
Dransfield Properties’ existing compensatory measures already included a new artificial crown green bowling facility, a bridal path, links to the Trans Pennine Trail and new parking facilities.
Managing Director, Mark Dransfield, said: “We are looking forward to delivering our development in Penistone and bringing forward a scheme which will be of long term benefit to the area.”
Liz Owl, Penistone Show press officer, said she was aware the application had been withdrawn but added: “The show committee once again wishes to state that its one priority is to keep the show on the showfield and recreation ground in the centre of Penistone, and intends to hold to that course .”