Royston masterplan framework

A community consultation exercise to gather views on the draft Royston masterplan framework was carried out between Wednesday 3 June to Wednesday 15 July 2020. Through questionnaires and community events, people had the opportunity to comment on the draft plan and its main themes.

The Royston masterplan framework will support the development of a diverse new neighbourhood with a mix of housing types and tenures, creating high-quality homes.

The framework covers land at the MU5 site and land at Lee Lane, Royston. The site has been allocated for development within the Local Plan and can accommodate around 994 new homes, a primary school and supporting infrastructure with facilities and small-scale retail. 

The Royston masterplan framework was adopted by Full Council on 29 July 2021.

Frequently asked questions

What is a masterplan framework?

Each council is required by government to produce a development plan. The Barnsley Local Plan was adopted by the council in January 2019. This was the culmination of five years’ work, including several public consultations and a two year public examination. When the Local Plan was being examined it was agreed that for some of the larger, strategic sites it was necessary to prepare masterplan frameworks to make sure that sites could be developed in a comprehensive manner, taking into account all of the infrastructure requirements.

Looking at large allocations in this way, rather than on a site-by-site basis, makes sure we can make the best use of sites and secure sustainable and inclusive growth, reflecting each of our corporate priorities.

The masterplan framework is a strategic document that sits beneath the Local Plan and will inform future planning applications. It is not a planning application. Planning applications will be prepared and consulted on before any further development comes forward on the site. The masterplan framework should be read in conjunction with the adopted Local Plan and the supplementary planning documents, including the national planning and policy guidance.

What is in a masterplan framework?

Masterplan frameworks contain the following:

  • planning policy summary
  • site location and description
  • land ownership
  • a summary of the existing evidence
  • site evaluation (opportunities and constraints)
  • land use framework
  • sustainable movement framework
  • protection of existing public rights of way routes and their incorporation within new development layouts
  • vehicular movement framework
  • green and blue infrastructure framework
  • placemaking framework (including design guides for character and neighbourhood areas where applicable)
  • sustainability and energy use
  • health and wellbeing
  • design evolution
  • conceptual masterplan
  • infrastructure and delivery phasing

Masterplan frameworks shall be subject to public consultation and be approved by the council before any key planning application are approved on the affected sites.

Each masterplan framework will be bespoke and therefore considered on a case-by-case basis.

How will the scheme benefit Barnsley residents?

The Royston MU5 site will deliver around 994 new homes and associated facilities to help address the borough’s housing need. Planning permission has already been granted for 166 of the 994 homes, under planning reference 2016/1490. The development also includes a a new primary school in order to ensure that there are enough school places to serve existing and future residents.  It could also contribute towards the cost of a relief road, diverting some traffic away from the centre of Royston.

Who is responsible for producing the masterplan?

Barnsley Council has commissioned master planning consultants Ove Arup Partners Ltd (Arup) to produce the draft masterplan framework. Arup is working in partnership with Gillespies to produce the masterplan framework on the council’s behalf. The council’s role in this process is to make sure that proposals are compliant with planning policy and delivers the anticipated outputs determined by the Local Plan.

What alternatives were considered and why were these sites not deemed suitable?

As part of the Local Plan process the council was required to look at where growth might best be located and on sites. Royston was identified as an area where some growth would be considered appropriate and the land off Lee Lane was deemed preferable to alternative areas around Royston, most of which are in the green belt.

How will the project impact the area?

It is envisaged that the delivery of the masterplan framework will positively impact both residents and businesses. The masterplan framework proposes a mixed-use development to provide around 994 new homes. Alongside housing, the draft masterplan framework also includes a new primary school, a small shop, brand-new infrastructure including a proposed relief road, and open green space with wildlife corridors, watercourses and key pedestrian and cycle paths.

What are the objectives of the masterplan framework?

  • Understand site constraints and opportunities.
  • Set out a clear vision and development objectives for each masterplan framework.
  • Encouraging the creation of high-quality spaces and buildings in a way that would prioritise the people’s experience of the development.
  • Improve the quality of the public areas with a particular focus on the interface between new routes and open spaces.
  • A clear delivery plan setting out, among other items, each project’s phasing, timescales, delivery approach, funding and key parties to be involved.
  • Provide design code to guide future development and ensure the creation of integrated places and communities.

Programme, costs and need

Why is the project necessary?

The Local Plan requires that the masterplan frameworks should be developed for specific large allocations and groups of sites. The Royston (MU5) site will deliver around 994 new homes, a new primary school and supporting infrastructure.

It is important for the council to produce a masterplan framework to establish the infrastructure requirements and deliver sustainable and inclusive growth. The absence of a framework could result in developers and landowners bringing forward planning applications to develop their own sites without properly considering how they relate to the wider area and without each party contributing their fair share towards overall infrastructure requirements.

What are the timescales for the project?

Following the six-week public consultation, Arup, Gillespies and Barnsley Council will review the questionnaire feedback. Following this, the final version of the masterplan framework will be prepared. This document will then be taken through to the Full Council for approval with a view to adoption in November 2020.

How is the project being funded?

The project has been funded by Barnsley Council.

Placemaking principles

What provision will be made for retail and community facilities within the masterplan area?

The masterplan provides support for small-scale local shop in compliance with Local Plan policy TC5 Small Local Shops. At this stage, the scale and number of shops is not fixed.

Will new and current residents have access to schools, doctors and community facilities?

Infrastructure has been considered throughout the Local Plan process through the site selection methodology, and in the evidence base of the Local Plan.

The council engaged with relevant infrastructure providers in the production of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP), which supports the Local Plan.

This evidence base, including transport modelling, has been thoroughly checked by the Independent Planning Inspector, who considers the Local Plan to be sound.

In addition, Local Plan Policy I1 Infrastructure and Planning Obligations states that development must be supported by appropriate physical, social, economic and communications infrastructure including provision for broadband. New development should not overburden the existing infrastructure. Where new development creates a need for new or improved infrastructure, developer contributions will be sought to make the development acceptable in planning terms.

The following provides a summary to each key service in accordance with the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP).


Barnsley Council are working with the South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board to develop a strategy to make sure services can evolve to meet the needs of existing communities and population growth associated with new housing development.

South Yorkshire Ambulance Service confirmed through the IDP that the geographical coverage of existing services is adequate for the level of planned growth.


During the preparation of the IDP, South Yorkshire Police confirmation that there were no issues with current provision and non-envisaged in the foreseeable future.

Fire and rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue confirmed through the IDP that they were reviewing service provision within the borough and that it would consider the needs of the existing communities as well as planned growth for the next 15 years.


Barnsley Council as a local authority has a statutory obligation to provide primary and secondary school places for pupils within the borough.

The Local Plan identified land for new schools where demand arising from new development could not be accommodated within existing schools. The need for a new school site was identified for site MU5 through the Local Plan process.

Who will live in the houses?

Policy H6 of the Local Plan requires housing proposals to include a broad mix of house sizes, type and tenure to help create mixed and balanced communities.

Policy H7 of the Local Plan requires housing developments of 15 or more houses to provide affordable housing.

The type, tenure, and size of affordable homes will be agreed at the planning application stage.


Is the site designated as green belt?

No, and it was not in the green belt prior to being allocated for mixed use development in the Local Plan. This allocation means it has been identified for development.

How are you considering carbon zero and climate change as part of the framework?

Recognising the climate emergency declared by the council in 2019, and the goal to become a net zero carbon borough by 2045, sustainability and energy usage have been intrinsically considered in the development of this masterplan framework.

The council promotes the use of sustainable transport, including walking, cycling, bus services, connections to railway stations and electric vehicle charging points in every home. This, alongside proactive travel planning on the part of developers, should reduce the carbon emissions associated with transport from residents and occupiers of the scheme.

Furthermore, provision of high-speed digital fibre connections to the site will allow people the option of working from home, reducing the need to travel. It is expected that developers will provide digital infrastructure to offer occupiers ultrafast fibre to the premises (FTTP), with a choice of provider.

An energy strategy is being developed for the site. This will consider measures to drive down the operational carbon of residential dwellings, through use of energy efficient building fabric, onsite renewable energy generation and efficient, low-energy heating systems. Approaches will be considered at both the dwelling and site-wide levels.

The reduction of embodied carbon is encouraged. This could be achieved by, for example, far more extensive use of timber from certified sustainable sources than traditionally seen in UK housebuilding; use of modular products that reduce wastage; and greater use of both natural and recyclable materials alongside adoption of circular economy principles. It is expected that developers will use the RICS Whole Life Carbon Assessment to reduce the carbon of housing on this site and will publish details of the outcome of this assessment as part of the marketing process.

How will the scheme affect air quality?

The council has produced guidance regarding air quality considerations for planning applications which says that air quality impact needs to be considered and mitigated. 

Future planning applications are required to comply with this guidance to make sure that there is no deterioration in air quality in and around the masterplan framework area.

Will the scheme generate excessive noise?

The site is on the edge of Royston, so most properties in the village will be unaffected by the development. The masterplan framework and planning applications will consider noise impacts for existing and new residents. Developers will need to demonstrate that new development does not have an adverse impact on the living conditions of residents.

How will the scheme affect the ecology and biodiversity of the site?

As part of the Local Plan a series of biodiversity assessments were provided for proposed site allocations.

The assessments identified areas and features of significant ecological value that should be retained as part of any new development. These areas have been identified on the technical constraints plan and have informed the layout of the masterplan.

The masterplan framework will seek to retain and enhance existing trees and biodiversity features wherever possible and deliver a minimum 10 percent biodiversity net gain. This could be through a combination of on and off-site compensation measures.

What are the proposals to mitigate the impact on green space?

The masterplan framework will deliver a range of new green space; this could include informal open space, wildlife corridors and areas for the children to play.

The council has a new supplementary planning document (SPD) open space provision on new housing developments which sets out standard and guidance for new open space. A minimum of 15 percent of the total site must be kept as open space.

The detailed design of the new open space will be advanced at the planning application stage. The masterplan framework will confirm the general area and main design principles for new facilities

The masterplan framework will also set out high-level principles for maintaining green space and the responsibilities for individual developers will be agreed through a legal agreement at the planning application stage.

How are you considering heritage assets and archaeology?

Within the site there are fragments of an historic field pattern of small, narrow strip-fields. Aerial photographs and geophysical survey indicate that there are possibly prehistoric archaeological features below the ground, alongside traces of now-lost field boundaries While there are no designated heritage assets within the site there are a number of listed buildings and two scheduled monuments in the wider area. The settings of these would not be adversely impacted by the scheme.

It is likely that further archaeological investigation will be required to ensure that no archaeological remains are removed by construction without being appropriately recorded. There are also potential opportunities to retain aspects which contribute to the historic landscape character.

Further archaeological investigation should be carried out, including geophysical survey and possibly pre-determination trial trenching. Should archaeological remains be identified they would need to be investigated and recorded archaeologically prior to construction.


What is being provided within the site to encourage active travel?

The movement strategy is based on a hierarchy of routes through the site and prioritises walking, cycling and public transport over motor vehicles to encourage sustainable travel and reduce the impact of private vehicles.

The council is exploring options to provide new surfacing and lighting on the disused railway to allow this to be used more.

Why is a link road shown in the framework?

Detailed transport modelling indicates a capacity issue at the Wells crossroads in the centre of Royston. The council’s aspiration for addressing this issue is by encouraging active travel, through applying Local Plan transport policies that encourage active travel, and providing a relief road.

As part of the Royston masterplan framework we aim to improve links to the centre of Royston from the site and encourage walking and cycling along Lee Lane and the High Street. A relief road offers the opportunity to do this by removing non-local traffic from the centre of Royston.

Consultation and engagement

How were people notified about the public consultation?

Households and businesses located within a 250m radius of the site were notified by letter informing them about public consultation activities.

Additional publicity included:

  • site notices posted around the Royston masterplan framework boundary
  • a special notice in the Barnsley Chronicle
  • press/media release made available on the Barnsley website
  • social media

Find out more about the masterplan framework

All materials are available on our website including an interactive PDF that explains the proposed masterplan.

How long was the consultation period for this masterplan?

The consultation period for this masterplan ran for six weeks from 3 June 2020 to 15 July 2020. We extended the usual four-week consultation period to six weeks because we understand not everybody would be able to access the information easily online. This six-week period allowed enough time to effectively distribute requested hard copy materials and allow members of the public time to review them.

How are you taking into account public feedback?

Providing the public and key stakeholders with the opportunity to comment on the masterplan, and keeping the public and other stakeholders informed, is an integral part of the development process. All feedback received will be considered and analysed as part of the development process. The outcomes of this analysis will be reported on within a statement of community engagement report.