Tuesday, March 7, 2023

News: Controversial Rotherham land made asset of community value


A plot of greenbelt land where developers were turned down planning permission for housing is back on Rotherham Council's register of Assets of Community Value.

During the long-running planning battle, the authority reversed a decision to list The Pitches site.

Newett Homes proposed a high-quality residential development comprising 124 dwellings on the land close to The Stag. Revised down to 116 dwellings, the council's planning board voted to refuse the plans - going against a recommendation by its officers.

Following a subsequent appeal, a planning inspector ruled that the site provides a "visual amenity role for the local community and area" and houses should not be built there.

With an application imminent, Friends of The Pitches originally secured the site as an Asset of Community Value in 2019 but following an internal review at the request of the site owners, council officers overturned the original successful listing decision.

An executive decision was made in February 2023 to put the site back on the list.

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.

The planning application for the site at Stag was being recommended for approval, so long as developers provided over £1m as part of a legal deal.

The nine acre site on Wickersley Road has previously been used for football, cricket, hockey, tennis and bowls but it has been vacant for over five years.

Ruling on the appeal, planning inspector, Andrew McCormack, concluded last year that: "The potential and desire of the local community is sufficiently evident to support the case for the site to remain as protected Green Space. The amenity benefits to the local community and its people, as I have heard and seen them, are location specific and cannot be replicated or reproduced elsewhere. As such, this overall amenity value provided through the site as I have set out is considered to be irreplaceable."

During discussions over the plans, a figure of £912,000 was accepted by Sport England, due to go towards a replacement cricket pitch and field, replacement football facilities, a new bowling facility, tennis provision and to enable the Council to commission a new Playing Pitch Strategy. The inquiry showed that the total sum offered in the final Section 106 document was less than what it would cost to reinstate The Pitches site.

Concern and doubt was raised about the deliverability, nature and location of the sports mitigation package.

Images: Google Maps


Anonymous,  March 7, 2023 at 1:38 PM  

This is fantastic news. Let's hope the site gets brought back into use soon, it could be an amazing facility.

Meanwhile, isn't if funny that yet again, RMBC planning officers get things wrong and it takes the planning inspectorate to put it right. I increasingly get the impression that the planning dept is full of jobsworths who couldn't find the right thing to do if it was painted bright yellow, covered in lights and screaming at the top of its voice!

Anonymous,  March 7, 2023 at 2:35 PM  

Would have been a prime spot for a new Poundland or OneBelow

Anonymous,  March 7, 2023 at 4:29 PM  

Or a fantastic site for sport.

Anonymous,  March 8, 2023 at 4:34 PM  

Or a new pocket park like the one on Snail Hill due for opening in 2032

Anonymous,  March 9, 2023 at 8:55 AM  

They could've fit a warehouse on there.......

Anonymous,  March 9, 2023 at 11:33 AM  

I'm surprised the person with the fetish for high rise buildings hasn't been on suggesting a couple of tower blocks should be built there.

Anonymous,  March 10, 2023 at 12:26 AM  

No ,I'd prefer it as a wildlife haven....town centre is place for high rise...you a problem with that?

Anonymous,  March 10, 2023 at 10:42 AM  

Actually, the town centre has it's fair share of wildlife

Anonymous,  March 10, 2023 at 10:48 AM  

Would the Pitches site qualify for Town or Village Green status? The land in the centre of The Crescent, Thurcroft is now registered as a Village Green after a 5 year campaign by residents, begun when the owner applied to build on the land. Town or Village Green status protects the land from future development. Information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/town-and-village-greens-how-to-register

Cllr. Nigel Simpson,  March 10, 2023 at 2:29 PM  

It is more than 30 years ago that I went view a house there but I was told that there me be building at some point - so like many others for all that time no one has know what the future of this clean air space will be - I suggest it is retained as a community park perhaps call it Central Park to remind all those around what a valuable asset it is - for everyone...

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