South Yorkshire villagers pledge to keep battling to stop housing

Campaigners: Families protest over fields near their homes being included in development plans.
Campaigners: Families protest over fields near their homes being included in development plans.
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RESIDENTS have met with council chiefs to renew calls for green fields between South Yorkshire villages to be removed from a list of potential sites earmarked for up to 1,100 new homes.

People living around Anston, Woodsetts and Dinnington are unhappy the area is still included in Rotherham Council’s Core Strategy document for future development despite objections during consultation.

The protesters’ concerns have been raised by Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron.

Diane Walker, of Dinnington and a member of the Save Our Greenbelt campaign, said: “I am very disappointed that there appears to be no change to the Core Strategy since last year, but looking at the positive side because council leader Roger Stone said brownfield sites are his priority for development.

“I would not expect these fields between Dinnington, Anston, and Woodsetts to be in the next round of consultation as it is the highest quality agricultural land in the borough.”

Mr Barron, Save Our Greenbelt members, Dinnington and Anston councillors met council officials to discuss continued concerns about the housing plans.

Diane said: “Most of the group’s concerns were answered and, as usual, progress has been made.”

Kevin Barron confirmed to the meeting he had written to council officer Gerald Smith asking him to identify any changes to the Core Strategy in the Dinnington area as a result of the consultation process, and is awaiting a reply.

Officers reiterated the commitment of Rotherham Council to ‘prioritising the use of brownfield land for the building of homes’.

They said where building on green belt cannot be avoided at any cost, preference should be given to scrub or grassland whilst retaining traditional recreation areas.

Any building on agricultural land should be restricted to the lowest quality land.

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said: “The recent meeting with members of the Save Our Greenbelt group, MP Kevin Barron, councillors and council officers was productive and helped to reaffirm the commitment of all parties to using brownfield land as a priority.

“The group’s useful suggestions of alternative sites are being considered by council officers and will assist in the drafting of the next version of the plan.

“This will be subject to full public consultation in the coming months.”