A NEW action group has been formed to fight plans to build on green belt land in Dinnington and North Anston, which they claim will “kill” their community.
The Dinnington and Anston Action Group have joined other campaigners protesting against green belt proposals throughout the borough.
The group says it was set up to fight moves to construct 1,100 new homes—700 of which are on green belt land.
They claim 700 houses are to be built on a “preferred” site codenamed “Dinnington East.”
One of the founders of the group, Vic Betts, explained: “Dinnington East stretches from Rackford Road in the south to Lodge Lane in the north. Most of this land is currently used for growing crops with the remainder being grassland used as a children’s play area.
“Building on greenfield sites is also happening in the other Rotherham areas of Anston, Bassingthorpe Farm Development, Bramley, Ravenfield and Wickersley.
The population of Rotherham has been stagnant for many years. The last set of figures we have are from the borough’s report for 2006/2007 which states 7,000 people moved into the borough and 7,500 moved out.
“Taking into account births and deaths, the population grew by 100 people.
“As Sheffield refuse to build on their green belt land, the question must be asked as to where will their overspill go?
“As residents of the area we feel a development of this scale would kill our community, creating urban sprawl, a loss of identity and untold pressure on the area’s infrastructure—not to mention the loss of valuable farming land, and wildlife.
The damage to the environment would be huge and totally irreversible.
“We simply cannot stand by and let everything be destroyed by those at town hall towers.”
Residents said that they were “disgusted” as they got their first glimpse of Rotherham Borough Council’s plans for developing the town over the next 16 years.
The plans went on public display as part of the public consultation, but campaigners said most people were unaware of the proposals.
This week they delivered more than 2,000 letters urging people to object.
“Everybody is absolutely disgusted that they knew nothing about it,” said one resident.
“The council claims there were posters up in shops but nobody saw them. Now most people are angry and we are getting letters back objecting to the plans.”
A spokeswoman for the council said that the borough had a growing population and suitable sites for new homes had to be found.
She added: “This consultation, which has been publicised widely through various media and paid adverts, allows people to have their say about the proposed number and the location of homes and business at a very local level.”
“We listened to people in the last round of consultation and have significantly reduced the number of new homes but this latest consultation will allow Rotherham people to have their say again.”
She said that if the council did not submit its own development plan, the Government could dictate how many new homes Rotherham should have.
“We would have no say in where they are built and this would allow developers to cherry pick sites—probably on green belt. We have to make sure this does not happen,” the spokeswoman added.
The new plan will mean the release of 60 per cent less green belt than the previous plan, say planners.
Members of the public have until September 16 to tell the council what they think of the plans.