WILDLIFE and congestion concerns were raised as plans for a £40 million motorway service area were submitted.
Applicants Applegreen said its proposals for Brinsworth, off J33 of the M1, would create 300 jobs.
A planning decision on the scheme will be made before Sheffield Council decides on a similar one at Smithy Wood - two junctions further north - first announced in 2013.
An Applegreen spokesman said: “There is a clear and demonstrable need for a motorway service area on or between junctions 33 and 34.
“The proposed development would have the potential to result in major, significant and beneficial effects on construction employment.
“This would add an estimated £4.75 million to the economy of the area each year. The motorway services would be open 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year.
“When operational the service area would employ 300 staff and represent a circa £40 million investment.”
The plans include a filling station, separate facilities for HGVs and space for more than 570 vehicles, including 454 cars.
Applegreen said its environmental appraisals - ordered by Rotherham Borough Council - showed no “significant or unacceptable” effects from the development.
Most of the site is allocated for mixed purposes but part of the proposed access, off Rotherway, is green belt.
Ward member Cllr Nigel Simpson said: “This is a first impression entrance to Rotherham and Sheffield and a green area but, as usual, the bigger picture for Rotherham’s future is a complicated beast.
“I spent some hours at the presentation earlier this year by Applegreen’s PR consultants. It has to be said most residents and interested people were against the idea.
“The residents were up in arms about the noise and 24-hour light pollution and noted that wildlife had settled in the area.
“Some comments were positive, such as progress being inevitable and bringing in money from drivers, who need somewhere to stop.”
MSA Extra has asked Sheffield Council to put its Smithy Wood plan - including a hotel and fast food court - on hold until RMBC decides on the Brinsworth plan.
More than 7,000 people have objected to the plans, off J35 near Thorpe Hesley, over the past four years.
Liz Ballard, chief executive of Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said: “Whilst we continue to question whether there is a need for a services area on this stretch of motorway at all, the J33 proposal illustrates that Smithy Wood could be avoided all together as a location, which is one of the key planning tests for developing such important ecological sites.
“It shows that there is no ‘special need’ to develop land that should continue to be protected as a local wildlife site.
“As we have always said, irreplaceable ancient woodland and local wildlife should be protected and not destroyed.”
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.