Tuesday, January 5, 2016

News: Rotherham raises same objections to planned M1 service station

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Rotherham Council is raising objections to the updated proposals for a new £45m Motorway Services Area (MSA) at Junction 35 of the M1 in Sheffield.

Developer and operator, Extra MSA Group, has submitted plans for a new development on semi-mature woodland in the Green Belt at Smithy Wood, Cowley Hill just over the Rotherham border on the Chapeltown side of the motorway.

The proposals, which developers say will create some 700 job opportunities, include a facilities building, hotel, petrol filling station, parking facilities for all vehicles, access and circulation internal roads, structured and natural landscaping with outside picnic space and dog walking area, associated infrastructure and earthworks.

Updated plans include a large-scale area of up to 600 acres of new and existing woodland that would be managed sustainably over a minimum period of 50 years. One of these areas is to the south of Hesley Wood within the administrative boundary of Rotherham Council. This area covers some 8.97 hectares.

Rotherham Council has been asked for its views given the close proximity of the site to the borough. The authority has been re-consulted on the planning application after Sheffield City Council received amended information from the applicant.

Sheffield City Council were informed in April 2014 that RMBC raised objections to the proposal due to the detrimental impact of the development on the ecology of Smithy Wood which is within Rotherham and the visual impact of the woodland clearing on views from the borough, particularly from Thorpe Hesley, Wentworth and Kimberworth.
Even with new mitigation and compensation proposals, Rotherham Council has reached the same conclusion and is raising objections to the proposals. A report to the planning board at Rotherham Council concludes: "The impact of the development on Rotherham will be detrimental in terms of impact on the ecology of Smithy Wood that is within Rotherham and the visual impact of the woodland clearing on views out of the borough."

The report adds: "It is considered that the extent of woodland clearing that is to take place would have an impact on views from the borough. It is noted that the applicant is proposing some replanting as part of a mitigation / compensation package, but at present no plans / viewpoints have been put forward to show how it will help screen the views for the MSA from within the borough and therefore this is still a concern. However, it may be overcome should the application proceed to a detailed submission, where further details would be available.

"The improved woodland at Hesley Wood is recognised and welcomed and would ultimately be a benefit to Rotherham, but given its distance from the application site and the Rotherham section of the ancient woodland at Smithy Wood, it is unlikely to outweigh the adverse impact the development would have on the habitats at Smithy Wood within Rotherham."

A decision on the application was expected this month.

Images: Extra MSA Group

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