A PLANNING inspector has dismissed proposals for six gypsy caravan pitches on the borough’s green belt.
Sarah Colebourne ruled the plan would be inappropriate development for the land at Chesterfield Road in Swallownest.
Applicant Mr W Smith said the pitches near the Gulliver’s theme park site \_ would be for general use by gypsies and travellers, rather than personal occupancy by named individuals.
Some of the intended residents were currently living on sites in Barnsley and Doncaster where there is overcrowding and cultural tensions, the planning appeal heard.
The proposed layout for the rectangular site included six pitches each with two parking spaces, an access road through the centre and parking to the east.
The plan was rejected in March 2017 when Rotherham Borough Council said Mr Smith had not shown special circumstances for building in the green belt.
In her appeal decision, Mrs Colebourne agreed. She said: “The site contributes towards the gap between settlements. Its development would therefore harm the purposes of checking the unrestricted sprawl of a large built-up area.”
The site is 800 metres from the nearest shop, 900 metres from a school and 112 metres from a bus stop.
Mrs Colebourne said these were acceptable distances but the walking routes were of poor quality and unsafe.
At the hearing, RMBC accepted that it does not have sufficient pitches to meet the needs of gypsies and travellers, as stated in Government targets.
But the authority plans to take a council depot site out of the green belt at Dog Kennels Lane, Kiveton Park, to accommodate six to eight pitches.
And Mrs Colebourne said national guidance stated unmet need was unlikely to outweigh harm to the green belt.
A previous application for 12 pitches on the Chesterfield Road site had more than 500 objections and was rejected in May 2016.