Plans for more than 100 homes on former sports ground refused following objections

A development of more than 100 homes on a former sports ground have been turned down, after councillors cited the loss of green space and sporting facilities.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 5:00 pm

The plans for 116 homes at The Pitches at Stag in Broom were denied at this morning’s Rotherham Council planning board meeting, despite being reccomended by officers fpr approval.

Newett Homes applied to demolish a pair of semi detached houses adjacent to the site entrance on Wickersley Road, to widen the entrance to the site.

The 3.8 hectare site was previously been used for bowls, football, tennis cricket, and hockey, but has not been used for this purpose in the last seven years.

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The site of the proposed development
The site of the proposed development

The site is made up of a cricket pitch, football pitch, bowling green, tennis court and a sports club.

A business case to the planning board states: “The site has not been used for sporting purposes for over seven years.

“In fact, some of the amenities within the sports ground have not beenused for over twenty-five years and the whole site is now overgrown and in a state of disrepair.

The developers offered £760,000 to mitigate the loss of the amenity, including £295,000 for a replacement cricket pitch and field, £365,000 for a new football pitch and changing room, £40,000 for a new bowling facility and £30,000 for tennis provision.

Sport England initially objected to the scheme, but agreed to to it with the S106 contributions in place.

Emma Lancaster, agent for the applicant that the site is “overgrown, poorly drained ,and existing buildings are in a state of disrepair”.

She added that a playing pitch strategy, to be submitted after the application, “could mean an additional 2000 people playing football each week, 600 more playing cricket 100 More playing tennis, and 200 people taking up lawn bowls.

“The COVID 19 pandemic is brought about a renewed focus on obesity and getting more people into sport is critical in addressing this.

Five members of the public spoke at the meeting to object to the plans, including Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford.

Andrew Fellows, a member of the public, asked the meeting “what was the point” in the council’s local plan, if the site was to be built on.

He added that through a Freedom of Information act request, he had obtained written information to state that the playing fields are “allocated green space” in the local plan, adopted in 2018.

Councillor Allen Cowles told the meeting: “It simply shows that every green space in this borough is up for grabs, providing the price is met.”

After a vote, the application was knocked back with six votes to seven, with councillors citing the loss of green space as a reason, and the lack of a playing pitch strategy before the application was lodged.

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