Thursday, August 4, 2016

News: Smithy Wood services consultation continues

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Rotherham Council is again being consulted on plans for a proposed new £46m Motorway Services Area (MSA) at Junction 35 of the M1 in Sheffield.

Developer and operator, Extra MSA Group, submitted plans in 2014 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 plans included 33,000 sq ft of food court, ancillary retail and other customer facilities in addition to a 16 filling positions on the main forecourt and four filling positions on the HGV forecourt with forecourt shop, 639 parking spaces for cars, HGVs, coaches, caravans and motorcycles and an 80 bedroom hotel.

Developers say that the proposals will unlock a £46m investment and lead to 300 FTE job opportunities and £1m a year in business rates.

The creation of services does require the use of around 20 acres of existing woodland and the applicants had proposed to include the creation of a new 39 acre woodland with 60,000 new trees which will be open to the public for recreational use.

Updated plans included 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.

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Attracting opposition due to the loss of woodland, additional information was submitted to Sheffield City Council in October 2015. Since then, as a result of ongoing dialogue and discussions, further information and points of clarification have been provided.

The updated plans focus on the "need" for another service area in South Yorkshire and the economic and social benefits. Further studies have been carried out on the loss of ancient woodland and the visual impact of the development.

Rotherham Council has been asked for its views given the close proximity of the site to the borough. In its response to the 2014 plans, the Council stated that the proposal is unlikely to have a material adverse impact on highways in the Rotherham area but the reduction of ancient woodland should be considered to have an adverse impact on the integrity of the wider woodlands, including that within the Rotherham borough.

The issue of visual impact of the woodland clearing on views out of the borough from the Thorpe Hesley, Kimberworth and Wentworth areas was also raised.

Even with new mitigation and compensation proposals, Rotherham Council reached the same conclusion and raised objections to the 2015 proposals.

Regarding the loss of ancient woodland, the 2016 updates, drawn up by the Pegasus Group, state that any loss should be weighed up against the potential benefits of the development.

Additional landscape and technical work has been done with refinements to the design of the scheme relevant to landscape and visual impacts including: the reductions in building heights and lowered final ground levels within the parking areas; changes to the layout of the land use areas; and greater clarity on the proposals for retained and indicative planting areas.

Smithywood MSA website

Images: Extra MSA

1 comments:

Mr me August 5, 2016 at 7:16 PM  

Objest to it,infa t object ti all other local towns development plans,do whattgey do when Rotherham have plans!

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