YORKSHIRE Water’s plans for a 12 million litre service reservoir in the middle of a park will dominate the scenery and put off visitors, campaigners have warned.
The firm wants to build a unit to supply 20,000 homes and Rotherham Hospital on land at Boston Park, Moorgate, next to its current site.
Janet Worrall, secretary of the Friends of Boston Castle and Parklands, said: “This is the heart of the park and offers visitors a huge space to enjoy.
“Not only will the proposed reservoir completely change the top field, it will also dominate the whole of that side of the park.
“From almost the first moment visitors enter, the 2.4 metre security fence and the mound of the new reservoir, three to six metres in height, will dominate what can be seen in that direction.
“We can only hope that the planning board considers all the alternative options in depth and recommends one of them.”
The plan would see the “used” reservoir land - less valuable as green space - returned to the park once the project was complete.
Jonathan Platts, of Boston Castle Grove, said: “The land being returned to the park will be of less use to the public because of its location at the back of the park.
“It will also be hidden from view by the new reservoir, making it more prone to anti-social behaviour.
“I understand the construction will require the use of heavy machinery to excavate soil and to remove waste materials. The council may have to close the park for up to 12 months during construction.
“Vibration from the digging operation may cause damage to residential housing on Boston Castle Grove and residents will be subject to noise pollution.”
Rotherham Borough Council approved the land-swap in late 2016 and has suggested £228,800 park improvements it would like Yorkshire Water to pay for.
The firm said Boston Park was the preferred location as alternatives - including behind Oakwood High School and at Thomas Rotherham College - were “unfeasible”.
There are currently two reservoirs used at the site, one built in 1908 - and taken out of service 37 years ago - with the other added in 1955.
Yorkshire Water’s plans said: “The steel tendons within the beams are currently failing which has resulted in the clay tiles becoming displaced, with many having fallen into the base of the reservoir.
“A new 12,000-metre cubed structure must be constructed to maintain the public water supply.”
The development will have a design life of 80 years. Public consultation on the proposal runs until July 25.
Janet added: “The park is grade II-listed and, as Rotherham’s first park, we can’t help but feel that it deserves better.
“If Yorkshire Water’s plans go ahead, the gala event in the park held on Sunday will most certainly be the last event to take place on the top field, the first having been the grand opening of Boston Park on July 4, 1876.”