Housing plan is reduced in size

CONSTROVERSIAL plans to build on some green belt land around Dinnington remain in Rotherham Council plans for development in the next 15 years.

It comes despite the local authority slashing the level of housing development it plans in the borough between 2013 and 2028.

Rotherham Council’s cabinet approved the core strategy of the Local Plan which advised that land for 12,750 homes be built over 15 years - 850 homes a year.

It is significantly lower than 24,000 new homes originally mooted and reduces the need to build on as much green belt land.

Planning chiefs said that there is capacity on brownfield sites to build around 5,000 homes and around 7,000 on green belt and greenfield sites.

According to papers which went before the cabinet, only 0.6 per cent of green belt land will be needed to meet the council’s housing target to 2028.

Karl Battersby, the council’s strategic direction for environment and development services said: “We had a regional spacial strategy which was for 24,000 homes over 15 years and we’ve gone for 12,750.”

“That’s based on regional statistics for projected regional growth.”

“We’re the only one of the local authorities in South Yorkshire that has gone with a local plan rather than the original regional one.”

“We think the local target is sensible for Rotherham. The regional target was far too high and would have had a significant impact on the green belt land we would have had to release.”

Planning bosses said they had received 6,000 responses about the LDF plans during consultations last summer and there was a ‘big area of objection from Dinnington.’

Mr Battersby said: “We went out to consultation with three times as much land as we needed. There is still all to play for, we haven’t decided where (the land will be allocated) exactly.”

In the Dinnington, Anston and Laughton Common areas the council identified land for 3,000 homes, but only plans to designate space to build 1,100 homes.

Following the cabinets approval of the core plan of the Local Plan on Wednesday, a six week period of consultation will now take place.

Mr Battersby explained that only complaints regarding the nature in which the Government guidelines have been interpreted and the legal proccesses, will be considered at this stage.

Further consultation about the exact sites for the proposed new homes will follow later in the year.

The council has already carried out a review to ensure that as little green belt land as possible is used for housing.

The plans were met with ‘disgust’ by some Dinnington residents when they first went out to consultation last year.

Since then the Save Our Greenbelt Dinnington and Anston Action Group has had several meeting with council officials to suggest more hectares of brownfield sites, sufficient to support the number of homes suggested in the Local Plan.