Protest over flats scheme in old pub

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A LANDMARK pub on one of the gateways to Doncaster town centre could soon become a block of flats.

Councillors on Doncaster’s planning committee meet today to decide if they should grant permission for The Rockingham Arms on Bennetthorpe to be converted into living accommodation.

Developer Mick Griffiths has proposed creating 23 self-contained flats within the building and in a third- floor extension, but the scheme has run into opposition from residents of the Bennetthorpe area.

They fear it will be used for ‘social housing’ which might lead to anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of the former pub and hotel, which closed about a year ago and has been empty since.

Planning officers are recommending the scheme is approved and have stated that rumours The Rockingham was to be converted into a bail hostel, which caused significant concern to residents, are ‘incorrect’.

The council has received 26 letters of objection and one from a Town Moor ward councillor.

They expressed fears about safety and security, increased parking, the impact on the conservation area and the fact that ‘Bennetthorpe is one of the main gateways into Doncaster and social housing would spoil the area’.

The Rockingham Arms has been a well-established landmark on the road since it was built in 1923 and used to be popular with racegoers and Doncaster Rovers fans when the team played at Belle Vue.

Planning officer Andrea Suddes says in her report to today’s meeting: “Conversions such as this have the ability to provide a good range and mix of housing opportunities in the area to accommodate changing circumstances and household types and the former hotel lends itself readily to a residential conversion.”

The proposed conversion will provide nine one-bedroom apartments and Mrs Suddes said residents’ concerns about anti-social behaviour were not something over which the planning authority had control.