A COMMUNITY campaign to prevent a new £12.7 million link road being built on playing fields in Sheffield has led to the entire scheme being refused Government funding.
Rotherham Council wanted to build the route from the new Waverley township to Retford Road, at Woodhouse Mill, to ease congestion once thousands of new homes are built on the former Orgreave industrial site.
But it ran into opposition because the final section, was proposed across playing fields and would have meant demolition of four houses on Retford Road.
Rotherham Council said it was ‘disappointed’ by the rejection - and predicted there will be traffic jams on once Waverley is complete.
Woodhouse Mill residents campaigned to protect the fields and urged the council to look at alternatives.
They had the playing fields protected under the Queen Elizabeth II Fields In Trust project, which aims to preserve green spaces, with Sheffield Council’s support.
The Government decided there was ‘no guarantee’ the project would be successful without Sheffield’s backing.
Derek Hutchinson, of Watch Street, Woodhouse Mill, who led calls to save the fields, said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the decision.
He said: “We had a community campaign and I swamped Sheffield Council with emails to try to get them on board.”
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “As Rotherham and Sheffield have been unable to come to an agreement, the Department for Transport does not have sufficient confidence the scheme can be delivered and therefore we cannot agree to provide funding.”
But Mr Baker would not rule out funding if the scheme is revived in the future.
Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts said: “It is quite clear that the opposition of Sheffield Council has been the determining factor.”
But he warned campaigners had to remain ‘vigilant’ in case the plans were revived.
Rotherham Council’s strategic director for environment and development Karl Battersby said: “The road would have provided huge benefits for both Rotherham and Sheffield residents who will be faced with increased traffic congestion in the future due to the increased residential and business development on the Waverley site.”