More anger over housing strategy

HUNDREDS of people squeezed into Kiveton Park and Wales Village Hall to hear about plans for hundreds of houses.

Wales Parish Council called the meeting to discuss Rotherham Council’s Local Development Framework which says 300 houses are needed in the villages by 2027.

Residents were alarmed when they heard some of the numbers being bandied around.

“The council’s suggested sites for development add up to a lot more than 300, in fact it is over 2,000,” said parish council vice chairman Barrie Marsh.

But borough councillor for Wales Dominic Beck was quick to set the record straight, and branded the figures ‘scaremongering’.

“Please don’t worry that RMBC are going to build all these houses,” said coun Beck.

“The non-preferred sites will eventually be ruled out leaving only the most suitable ones.”

Rotherham will see nearly 13,000 homes built by 2027. Kiveton and Wales will constitute 2 per cent of this.

Countryside access campaigner Colin Savage said: “I have heard the council refer to us as a town. We are not a town, we are two villages and I for one want to keep it that way.”

The meeting heard that if all site options were used, there would be 2,140 new houses in Kiveton and Wales.

One resident said: “If you allow two houses you will end up with 2,000. Do we want to end up like Mosborough?”

“It was a village until they gave permission for four houses and now it’s bigger than Sheffield!”

Residents raised concerns about the already over-crowded roads, schools and health services in Kiveton and Wales, and the expansion into greenbelt land.

They also questioned why 300 houses were needed when 321 were already allocated across two sites near Keeton Hall Road and Lambrell Avenue.

Diane Wood from Kiveton said: “I have done a survey which shows there are currently 339 houses for sale in the S26 postcode so why do we need any more?”

No council officers were there to answer these questions. A consultation afternoon had been held in July for villagers to speak to planning officers. Around 50 people turned up.

Coun Beck reassured villagers that their borough councillors were on the same side.

He agreed they did not want too many new houses, saying: “We don’t want Kiveton Park to become Kiveton city.”

But he explained that Rotherham Council, and other local authorities, faced an ultimatum from the Government - either choose your own development sites or it will be done for you.

Colin Savage said: “It is down to the people to say ‘no, we don’t want it there’ and suggest which sites are more suitable.”

Coun Michael Brabbs added: “Somewhere we will have 300 houses by 2027 and we need to decide where is the best place for them.”

He urged residents to submit their objection or support for individual sites to Rotherham Council before the 16th September.

Karl Battersby, strategic director for environment and development services for Rotherham Council, said public views would then be used to inform decisions about where to develop.

He added: “We have been given a superb opportunity to come up with our own local plan rather than having an unrealistic number of houses forced upon us and I think people have understood this and want to help us get it right.”

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