Thursday, May 9, 2019

News: Early planning victories in Pitches battle


Campaigners opposed to development on a site in Rotherham that was previously used for a range of sports have scored a brace of early victories.

Rothbiz reported last month that Newett Homes is proposing a high-quality residential development comprising 124 dwellings on land known as The Pitches at Stag and that there was already opposition to the plans.

Friends of The Pitches have now successfully secured the site as an Asset of Community Value.

The register of assets of community value enables town and parish councils, local voluntary and community organisations the opportunity to nominate local land or buildings if they consider them to be of community value.

The tool is often used to give groups the opportunity to step in to save an asset if it comes up for sale. Successful applications to Rotherham's register include pubs, youth centres, greenspace and former council buildings.

In planning terms, it will now be up to Rotherham Council to decide how much weight to give to the land entering the register. The authority will decide whether being an asset of community value is a material consideration in the determination of the planning application for housing.


Also on the site, applicants Hotel Van Dyk Ltd, were recently refused retrospective planning application by the council's planning board to use the land temporarily for office and storage containers.

Opposition to the plans came from local residents and planning board members who claim that the containers already on the playing fields are being used as site offices for the housing proposals and added that work felling trees has already taken place. The applicants, who did not attend the meeting, state that they are moving from a site at Chesterfield to Hellaby but need to use The Pitches site as a stop gap.

The board went against officer's recommendation and refused the plans.

Cllr. Jennifer Whysall told the meeting: "I'd got a feeling that it was April the first reading this. I just feel that someone is having a laugh here, and that is accepting that this is about the siting of those things [the office and containers] and not about any future housing development which is obviously going to be another matter.

"I'm lost for words in a way. It is so inappropriate. It's against our own policy, it's retrospective, no consideration for anybody by the look of it and it just seems totally unnecessarily."

Fellow board member Cllr. Bob Walsh stated that it might actually be quicker to approve the plans than to go through a potential appeals process and enforcement action.

The plans were refused based on the opinion that the "offices and storage containers result in a loss of Green Space and the land is not suitable, even on a temporary basis, for such a development."

The applicants will be able to appeal the decision but enforcement action has been authorised by the council requiring the removal of the offices and storage containers, with a compliance period of 28 days.

Newett homes website

Images: Google Maps / RMBC


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