Plans to transform Swinden Technology Centre into housing estate rubber-stamped

Plans to transform the former Swinden Technology Centre into a housing estate have been approved.

By Danielle Andrews, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 29th April 2021, 1:30 pm

The plans include the conversion of Lodge House, Swinden House,Sitwell House and the former Stable Building to 27 homes in a mixture of houses and apartments, plus 170 new build houses on the site.

The proposal, submitted by Keepmoat Homes includes the demolition of unlisted 1950- 1980’s laboratory buildings on the land.

The new build dwellings will be a mixture of two bed apartments within severalblocks of three-storey buildings.

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Artists impression of the site.

Swinden Lodge will be a single home, and Sitwell House will be converted into seven apartments.

Keepmoat Homes purchased the Swinden Technology Centre from Tata Steel last year.

Swinden House, the Grade II Listed former home of Rotherham solicitor Thomas Badger, was completed in 1880 and originally named ‘Red House’.

Matthew Pruce, on behalf of Keepmoat Homes told the meeting: “The development will make a valuable contribution to the supply of housing in a highly sustainable location.”

A planning document to Rotherham Council’s planning board states: “The historic buildings of Swinden Technology Centre are considered to be ofnational significance as a result of the sum of their architectural, artistic andhistoric interest.”

The developers have agreed to pay the council a total of more that £588,000 in S106 contributions, as well as eight affordable homes on the development.#

Of this, £98,500 will fund sustainable travel measures, £454,347 for secondary schools, and £35,685 will fund bus stop improvements.

A number of issues have been raised by neighbours, including the loss of trees, privacy and wildlife, and that the development is “not appropriate.”

Ross Schofield, who lives in a house bordering the site, objected on the grounds of loss of privacy.

He told the meeting that they bought the house because of the privacy afforded by trees bordering his property, which he says will be removed – meaning his bedroom will be overlooked by the visitor car park.

“The two large trees are not shown on the plan in the correct location. We’re just asking for visitor car parking spaces to be moved.

“Our privacy will be completely destroyed. Our security will be compromised. I can’t imagine why you want to remove such healthy established trees from a wildlife perspective. We regularly see birds of praise, bats voles rabbit it’s all of using those trees.

“They’re century old trees, there’s no need to remove them.

He added that the area suffers from drug dealers and anti-social behaviour on Green Lane already, and would “vehemently object” to a cut-through from the new estate, “because that will only increase those kinds of activities”.

However, Lisa Brooks, planning officer, said there were no plans for a cut-though, and the council was “not aware of any anti-social behaviour”.

Councillor John Williams said he found the plans “exciting”, and an “interesting development and that he sympathised with Mr Schofield but was in favour of the overall scheme.

Councillor Alan Atkin said it was an “excellent scheme”, that has brought a “brownfield site back into into use.”

He added that he only downside to the scheme was the lack of affordable housing.

Rotherham Council’s planning board approved the application unanimously at their meeting on April 29.