Traffic will increase, council leader warns

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Sheffield suburbs will suffer from extra traffic if a controversial new link road goes ahead without the backing of Sheffield Council, Rotherham Council’s leader has warned.

Coun Roger Stone spoke out after a row about the timing of the consultation into the planned road between the new Waverley township and Woodhouse Mill, which will feed traffic onto the Aston bypass to the A57 and M1.

Waverley is set to be built on former opencast land at Orgreave.

But Woodhouse Mill residents and Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, who oppose plans the plans, say this month’s consultation exercise was held at short notice at a time when many people are away on holiday.

Meanwhile, the issue has been a flashpoint within Sheffield Council’s ruling cabinet - with a senior councillor criticising the authority for discussing the issue with Rotherham when it is opposed to the road being built on playing fields at Woodhouse Mill.

Coun Stone said Rotherham owned part of the playing fields at Woodhouse Mill but needed to buy the remainder from Sheffield Council to build the road.

He said: “We can manage without building this road but all the traffic problems would then hit Handsworth, in Sheffield. The road will not go across the playing fields anyway - it’s planned to go down the side and won’t lead to the loss of any pitches.

“We are at the final stage of our bid for Government funding but unless we have the support of Sheffield Council, it’s unlikely it will go ahead.”

Sheffield Council, cabinet member for communities, Coun Mick Rooney, who represents Woodhouse, was furious after receiving an email informing him Sheffield Council was assisting Rotherham with its consultation.

He wrote to head of highways John Bann saying: “Why are we having anything to do with any consultation? Our position is quite clear - no road through the playing fields as we own them!”

Mr Bann said: “Sheffield’s involvement comes following a meeting of the leaders and chief executives of Rotherham and Sheffield Councils. The outcome of the consultation will influence the case put forward by Rotherham to the Government for funding in September.”

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore said her position had not changed.

A public drop-in will be held at The Old Rectory, Handsworth Road, on Tuesday, from 2pm to 8pm.