Link road timing row

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Residents and a Sheffield MP opposed to plans to build a link road across playing fields are crying foul over the timing of the public consultation into the plans.

Rotherham Council is bidding for Government funding for the multi-million pound route, which would link the new Waverley township to Woodhouse Mill.

It has decided to hold the consultation exercise this month.

The authority is sending out 10,000 leaflets and holding a public information event about the plans.

But Clive Betts and Woodhouse Mill resident Derek Hutchinson, who is campaigning to save the playing fields off Retford Road, are both unhappy about the short notice of the consultation..

They believe that many residents will miss the chance to give their views because they are on holiday.

Mr Betts, who is Labour MP for Sheffield South East, said: “I’m very angry this has been timed to take place in August, given all the opportunities to engage with the community which Rotherham have previously declined.”

Mr Hutchinson, of residents’ group Woodhouse Mill and Orgreave Community Forum, said: “I am a bit annoyed as well as they do not give one enough time to organise much in response.”

He said residents are planning to send out leaflets of their own about plans for the road.

The community forum is trying to have the playing fields protected under the Queen Elizabeth II Fields project, which aims to preserve green spaces across the country for the future as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year.

John Bann, Sheffield Council’s head of transport and highways, said: “Rotherham Council are sending a consultation leaflet to approximately 10,000 residents in both Rotherham and Sheffield to ask them about their views on the proposed Waverley Link Road.

“There will also be a drop-in session at The Old Rectory on Handsworth Road on Tuesday, August 16, from 2pm to 8pm, where officers from both Rotherham and Sheffield councils will be available to answer questions.

“The consultation closes on Wednesday, August 31.”

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said the authority maintained the four-week consultation period gave sufficient time for the public to give their views .

She said: “The closing date for comments is not until the end of the month - giving the public plenty of opportunity to comment on the plans for the new link road irrespective of the holiday period.

“This is only the start of the proposed project The public will have plenty of opportunity to comment as the scheme develops.”