Controversial South Yorkshire church plans turned down for third time

Common Road, North Anston. Picture: Google.
Common Road, North Anston. Picture: Google.
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Councillors have turned down controversial plans to build a church on green belt land in South Yorkshire for a third time.

Members of Rotherham Borough Council's planning board refused an application from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church to build a place of worship on Common Road, North Anston - having done the same in 2013 and 2015.

The latest proposals also included new multi-million pound sports facilities for Anston Rangers Junior Football Club.

But after a lengthy debate councillors agreed with planning officers' recommendation to turn the application down.

Planning board chairman Coun Alan Atkin said: "I usually don't speak much from the chair because it's not always that appropriate but we have had some passionate speeches and it's undoubted that the Brethren do a lot of charity work.

"In fact, I was approached by a member of the Brethren about some work they want to do with South Yorkshire Fire and it's great but they can still do that work without having this church on the site."

After hearing speeches from a number of councillors and speakers, Coun Atkin said that planning legislation stated permission could only be granted for schemes which are considered 'inappropriate developments in the green belt' in 'very special circumstances' and asked members to 'bear that in mind'.

A total 349 representations were sent to the council, 327 of which were in favour of the plans.

Supporters said Common Road was blighted by fly-tipping and said it would have provided new sporting facilities for youngsters in the area.

But objectors claimed it would have led to additional traffic and said it was inappropriate development in the green belt.