Friday, September 22, 2017

News: Planning inspector to decide on Rotherham travellers site

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A planning inspector will rule whether a 6-pitch traveller site can be created on Green Belt land adjacent to the site of a proposed £37m leisure development at Rother Valley.

Plans have been refused twice by Rotherham Council and now the applicant has appealed the latest decision.

In March last year plans were submitted by a Mr Smith for a 12-pitch traveller site and screening mound with planting on a reclaimed site of vacant grassland at Swallownest between the A57 and railway line, to the north of the development site known as Pit House West.

Rotherham Council refused the application and concluded that the site is considered to be in an unsustainable location and the proposals would have an adverse impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

At the end of 2016, new plans were submitted for a change of use of the land for the siting of caravans for residential purposes for six gypsy pitches together with the installation of hardstanding.

Again, Rotherham Council refused the plans based on the inappropriateness of the development and the adverse impact on the openness of the Green Belt in this location.

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Applicants need to demonstrate very special circumstances to justify development in the Green Belt and the applicant's appeal is based on the development constituting "sustainable development and would provide much needed accommodation for gypsy and travellers within the Rotherham MBC [area]."

Planning consultants for the applicant said in an appeal statement that material considerations should be given weight as the Council has yet to sign off its Local Plan and are unable to demonstrate a five year supply of gypsy and traveller pitches.

With a need identified for more pitches, the borough's local plan included a proposal to use land at a former council depot at Dog Kennels Lane, Kiveton Park for a gypsy and traveller site. It is big enough to hold six to eight pitches.

An appeal hearing, where the inspector will hear representations on the application, has been scheduled for November 14.

Planning permission was granted earlier this year for the £37m Gulliver's Valley family theme park on the Pit House West site where the family-owned business is purchasing around 250 acres of the restored former colliery and opencast site from Rotherham Council. The applicants demonstrated very special circumstances, not least the 400 jobs that are expected to be created and the total annual operating net economic impact on the local economy of £11.6m.

The scheme is expected to be built over 12 - 15 years in a number of phases. Phase one includes the main Gulliver's theme park with three themed areas, the entrance hub and castle, and is set to open in 2020.

Images: Google Maps


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