Field protection bid disrupts £6m road plan

ROTHERHAM Council has not yet revealed whether it will challenge an application to have playing fields granted royal protection - which would disrupt the authority's plans to build a £6 million link road.

The council has currently resubmitted a revised bid for Government funding for the road, part of a link between the Waverley development and the A57.

A section of the route was planned for part of the playing fields off Retford Road, Woodhouse Mill - but surrounding residents have campaigned to stop the road and Sheffield Council has made an application on their behalf for the fields to be protected under the Queen Elizabeth II Fields initiative.

The scheme to protect playing fields across Britain was a legacy of the monarch's Diamond Jubilee. If the bid is successful, Rotherham would have to look at a new route, which would involve a bridge over the River Rother - substantially increasing the cost and making it less likely to be granted Government funding.

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said: "We are disappointed because this is a major scheme, which while benefiting both Rotherham and Sheffield, is also key to fulfilling the region's economic potential.

"We are currently waiting to hear from the Department for Transport whether our expression of interest in funding has been successful but in the meantime will obviously have to review the situation if the QEII Fields application is successful."

Labour Coun Ray Satur, who represents Woodhouse on Sheffield Council, said: "It's important this green space is preserved. Many people use the field and it is an important asset."

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