Siddal residents up in arms over housing plan

Residents opposing plans for affordable houses on site of Barker House, Siddal.
Residents opposing plans for affordable houses on site of Barker House, Siddal.
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Residents are up in arms over plans to knock down an empty apartment block and build nine affordable homes in Siddal.

Penning Housing has submitted plans for six three-bed and three two-bed homes on the site of Barker House, between Oxford Lane and Barker Close.

The company - part of the Together Housing Group - proposes to rent out the properties to households eligible for social housing and will also create 15 parking spaces.

But residents - particularly those who live in sheltered housing on Barker Close - fear the impact on traffic and amenities as well as having families with children.

Norma Marriott, 80, said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting. I came here for some rest and it’s been grand. But now they’re wanting to put some houses up. There’s not enough car parking for the people who live here, never mind more houses.

“We don’t want children with bikes or playing football.”

Joan Gregory, 80, said: “We can’t expect youngsters to understand how the elderly feel. I don’t think Pennine has put enough thought into it. For teenagers’ benefit too - young people need somewhere to spread their wings. I think it’s a big mistake, because elderly won’t want to come live here.”

She added she would rather see the building return to sheltered housing or become a park for the elderly.

Christine Hill, of Oxford Lane, said schools already have no room: “Children would have to go out of Siddal. And Siddal is a rat run for cars avoiding going into town. These plans are going to increase the traffic.”

Anita Worthington, landlady at Siddal Place pub, added: “The elderly are scared about having lots of children up here. They’re scared and that’s wrong - they shouldn’t have to live like that. The building is structurally sound - it still looks good. Why they want to pull it down I don’t know. It’s ludicrous.”

Paul Helliwell, 57, of Siddal Street, said the plans are “totally inappropriate” and said the elderly deserve peace and quiet.

He said: “They should build some more of the same kind of properties as the elderly live in, that would be far better. I think building these houses so close to them will be a headache for them.”

Head of Penning Housing Janette Pearce said: “Siddal has an increasing need for quality affordable family homes and this development will go towards meeting this need. We’ve been through a consultation process with both the local community and local authority. The new housing will enhance the area without having a detrimental impact on the people who live there.”