Plans for 46 homes near woodland in Rotherham approved despite objections

A new housing development near Wickersley Woods has been approved - despite objections from neighbours and councillors.
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Members of Rotherham Council's planning board rubber stamped the plans at a virtual meeting.

The Harron Homes development will consist of five two-bedroom, seven three-bedroom, 24 four-bedroom and 10 five-bedroom homes off Second Lane, Wickersley.

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The development includes the provision of 25 per cent affordable housing units, which equates to 12 homes. Half of the affordable homes are expected to be for social or affordable rent, and half shared ownership.

Wickersley WoodsWickersley Woods
Wickersley Woods

The majority of the homes will be detached, with the affordable units being semi-detached and terrace properties.

Harron has agreed to contribute £107,142 towards education provisions, £23,000 for sustainable tranport funds, and £20,000 towards improvements to the footpath on Second Lane.

The site was previously designated as green belt land, but was earmarked for housing in 2017.

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A number of objectors spoke at the meeting, including ecologist Geoff Moxon, and water management specialist Clive Carpenter.

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Paul Baker raised concerns around flooding at the side and nearby Second Lane, and lack of buffer zone to protect Wickersley Woods.

Addressing the board, he said: “National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear that when developing next to ancient woodland , a 15-metre boundary must be in place, of which must be a semi-natural condition with reduced residential access.

“This application makes no provision for this requirement, and in fact contravenes the essence of this requirement. The proposal uses this boundary as an open gym.

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"The healthcare impact states this development will have a detrimental impact on the residents of which no response or remedy has been provided."

Geoff Moxon, an ecologist at Bioscan UK, said: “Natural England advice notes nearby development can have an indirect impact on ancient woodland by increasing disturbance to wildlife from additional traffic and visitors and by increasing damaging activities like fly-tipping and and the impact of domestic pets.

“The design makes no attempt to disguise its intentions to encourage residents to use the ancient woodland for recreational purposes.”

In a letter to the board, Wickersley Parish Council said: “While the council welcomes the provision of 25 per cent affordable housing, it is considered the housing mix proposed for market housing comprising entirely of four and five-bedroom properties would not meet local need.

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"House prices are increasingly out of the reach of local people who have to move out of the area to find housing of an affordable price. This is leading to an ageing population and the inability to downsize, due to a lack of smaller-sized properties.

"Another concern is the traffic impact on Morven Road and the Mason's roundabout, which is already over-capacity."

However, Mark Beevers, from Harron, said it had worked hard to provide solutions to flooding concerns and the development is considered to respect the green belt boundaries.

He said: “Flood risk within the area has been a focus of concerns for residents and initially the ocuncil's own draining engineer, but we've worked hard to provide solutions.

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“The local highways network is considered capable of accommodating the small increase in transport movements generated by the development.”

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