Barnsley - our changing landscapes

Barnsley Council will be reflecting on the borough’s changing landscapes in recent years, using aerial maps to compare now, with how the area looked in back in 2002. This will help residents to better understand how the local landscape has changed and developed in terms of green space.

Barnsley as a borough has continued to grow and develop as a place to live, work and invest. There has been huge success in bringing in new investment, through thriving business parks, improved infrastructure and better connectivity for our businesses.

New distribution centres, an NHS Blood Transplant facility and new premises for businesses, which have grown from local start-ups to major national companies now operate from Barnsley. It is important to consider how the borough has changed and continues to evolve to meet the needs of our growing economy, and that change will continue now and in the future.

Why is change needed? 

As a borough, Barnsley cannot stand still. Positioned in a great location, with excellent transport links, the area is attractive to companies looking for prime locations for their business. A key fact is, if the council doesn't support the development of some areas of land, businesses will go elsewhere. It is a difficult balance; which is being assessed all the time. The council needs to create jobs and business growth at a challenging time.

With more and better jobs, comes a need for housing. Housing proposals will provide the latest high-quality, energy-efficient homes for our residents.

This is why it is important each application is considered and that robust masterplan frameworks are in place to work with developers. All masterplans look at the long-term impact on green spaces and make sure plans are in place for the surrounding land to recover.

Does the council assess the impact?

The truth is, difficult decisions have needed to be made to support the council’s vision for the borough up to 2030.

Any developments can impact on residents, but in all cases, the council aim to minimise this. In developments recently, under the Local Plan, commitments have been made to achieve net gains in biodiversity, included new community facilities, cycle paths and green spaces. The plans are detailed, and landscaping is a focus throughout each masterplan.

Landscapes and wildlife successfully reinstated

The legacy of mining in the borough left a number of sites in the area unused and with potential to be restored to green space.

Local landscapes have evolved in the last twenty years, and through careful planning, development sites have been built in line with clear plans and policies to maintain and reshape the surrounding green areas. 

The council also owns and supports the development of six local Nature Reserves in Barnsley. Parks Services manage five of these and carries out a planned programme of habitat management and enhancement for both the public's enjoyment and to attract wildlife.

The future

The council will continue to work with developers and through our masterplan frameworks make sure we get the right developments for the borough. The local environment will always be a priority; it is important to consider that vast quantities of brownfield land have now been returned to the green belt. Almost every former pit stack is now acres of public, open green space.

Elsewhere, the Local Plan continues to protect around three-quarters of the borough which remains in the Green Belt. In twenty years - it will be the case that the borough’s landscapes have evolved again, with new developments providing jobs and growth, as our green space and biodiversity adapts and grows.

Our changing landscapes

Over the coming weeks the council will use images show how it both protects and enhances local landscapes, and the positive change since 2002, which is not always clear from the ground.

A new webpage including aerial images from across the borough can be viewed here.

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