Villagers opposing quarry travellers’ site development

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Plans for a gypsy and traveller site in a former South Yorkshire quarry are being met with protests from surrounding residents and businesses.

Kiveton Park Station Action Group members say they will deliver ‘hundreds of objections’ to Rotherham Town Hall a week tomorrow in response to proposals contained in the council’s Local Plan.

The group believes a travellers’ site would be ‘inappropriate’ for the quarry – famous for supplying the stone that built the Houses of Parliament.

It is currently used to store council grass-cutting vehicles.

Residents believe the quarry should be used to create extra car parking for the rail station nearby, and people using Chesterfield Canal.

Group member Neil Munday said “The risk to health and safety from having a travellers’ site there is massive.

“The quarry walls are very high, and almost sheer, with tall trees nearby. The other boundary is a busy railway line that runs only a couple of metres away.

“To make children safe and discourage climbing, the site would need a massive fence around it, which would be like living in a stockade.

“The quarry is very isolated from local amenities – there are no shops, schools or health facilities within reasonable walking distance.”

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said the land was one of three put forward for travellers’ sites in previous Local Development Framework consultations.

She said: “The site at Dog Kennel Lane has also been considered for a council-run gypsy and traveller site in the past and is considered the best option available – due to it being self contained, able to provide a good environment for residents and being in council ownership.

“Other sites considered were New Orchard Lane Thurcroft and part of Warren Vale, Rawmarsh, which was also considered for housing.

“However, a protected species – great crested newts – were found on the Thurcroft site and significant concerns exist regarding Warren Vale’s previous use as a refuse tip.

“Once the plan is approved and in place, the development of the site would be subject to a planning application. The council itself has no plans to provide a gypsy site, so development would be by an individual or other group."

■ Kiveton Park Station Action Group meets every Monday at 7.30pm in the Station Hotel, near Kiveton Park Station.