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Council admits to problems in developing 'key' housing sites in Rotherham

Untouched: The Whinney Hill site where new housing was expected two years ago
Untouched: The Whinney Hill site where new housing was expected two years ago
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Housing officials are still ‘reviewing their options’ over two key housing sites in Rotherham which were cleared to make way for new homes a decade ago, they have confirmed, following problems in getting redevelopment work started.

Housing officials are still ‘reviewing their options’ over two key housing sites in Rotherham which were cleared to make way for new homes a decade ago, they have confirmed, following problems in getting redevelopment work started.

The Whinney Hill and Chester Hill Avenue areas of Thrybergh, Rotherham, have been awaiting redevelopment since 2008 and now neighbourhood campaigner Michael Sylvester has questioned Rotherham Council’s lack of progress with the schemes, which could provide the town with 240 new homes.

Mr Sylvester, a former councillor, said originally the council had plans to redevelop the land under the Government’s Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder scheme and five years later a scheme to create 260 new homes was announced with Keepmoat Homes.

Details on Rotherham Council’s website said that scheme was due to commence in 2016, but there had been no progress, said Mr Sylvester, who used a public questions session at a meeting of the council’s ruling cabinet to ask for an explanation.

“Rotherham Council need to explain the extended delay plus what they are going to do to help repair damage to local businesses that have struggled due to this decade long gap in the local community” said Mr Sylvester.

He said that in the two years since building was due to start, the villages of Dalton and Thrybergh had seen their last pub close, the Progressive and Legion clubs go and other businesses left struggling.

“All of these are businesses that would have benefited from the additional 600 people this development should bring into the area and we need to know what the council is going to do to rectify any damage done to the local economy” said Mr Sylvester.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet spokesman for housing, Coun Dominic Beck, said the regeneration work was expected to create 240 new homes and said: “The Council is committed to delivering high quality homes that meet the needs of people in the borough.

“Both the Chesterhill Avenue and Whinney Hill sites are areas capable of delivering over 240 homes, however we have faced a number of challenges over the years in getting a deliverable scheme off the ground. We are currently reviewing our options to ensure we move as quickly as possible on these key sites.”