Campaign to stop greenbelt housing

Residents of Birkdale Avenue protest over plans to build on green belt land.  Pictured is Diane Walker and Graham Capper examine a map detailing the proposed areas for development  (w110831-8b)
Residents of Birkdale Avenue protest over plans to build on green belt land. Pictured is Diane Walker and Graham Capper examine a map detailing the proposed areas for development (w110831-8b)

Residents angry at council plans to build houses on greenbelt land have mounted a campaign to fight it.

They say they are disgusted that Rotherham Council has earmarked land near Lakeland Drive as a potential site for housing development.

The council has been consulting with the public about its plans for developing the borough over the next 16 years. It has outlined a number of potential sites for housing and employment land across the borough.

It was at one of those public consultation meetings that this group of residents got together.

“We met at the meetings and decided to get together to do something about it,” said group member Diane Walker.

“We are against the council building on green belt land and are trying to make people aware of what the council is proposing to do in the Dinnington and Anston area by distributing letters of objection to the plans.”

The group argue that the council should be building on brownfield sites, and are “outraged” that the council did not keep people informed.

“They are making out like no one is interested - but it is because nobody knew about these meetings. That is why we are making people aware about what is going on.”

The residents argue local roads can’t cope with any more traffic and their quality of life will suffer as the countryside they use for recreation and exercise is swallowed-up for housing.

They are also concerned about the added pressures on doctors surgeries, schools and hospitals that more people will bring.

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said the authority welcomes their comments as that is the point of the consultation.

She added: “The drawing-up of a 15-year plan for Rotherham is hugely important and so it is only right that local people have their say and consider the sites for development.”

“At the moment all sites are potential sites for development and so we want to hear the public’s views as well as their suggestions for alternatives.”

She said suitable sites for new homes across the borough have to be found to meet the needs of Rotherham’s growing population.

If the council does not submit a plan for development, it will be the Government who decides how many new homes Rotherham should have.

She continued: “We would have no say in where they are built and this will allow developers to cherry-pick sites - probably on green belt. We have to make sure this does not happen.”

“Rotherham has a proud record of developing brownfield sites and the authority will promote development on brownfield land first.”

So far the council has held over 20 public events and is anticipating that about 1500 people will have attended this first step in the process.

She added: “At the moment we are asking the public about potential sites and not infrastructure, such as roads, that will come later.”

“Initially, we will take away the ideas and reflections we have gained from Dinnington and all the other drop-ins and meetings and will include them in the future plans - so ensuring we get the best plan for Rotherham.”

“This is not the end of the process - we will be reporting back to the public next year with our findings.”

Anyone who wants to sign an objection letter that hasn’t already can visit www.saveourgreenbelt.info and download a copy.