A PLANNED 2,400-home development on land stripped of green belt status continues to elicit strong feelings from residents — a decade after it was announced.
Work could start in 2020 at Bassingthorpe Farm near Greasbrough, which will also include a health centre, primary school and 11 hectares of employment land.
It has been one of the borough’s most controversial proposals, with scores of residents queuing to have their say at an event in 2009, when there were 3,600 houses planned.
A drop-in held at Greasbrough Primary School last Thursday (27) did not attract the same crowds — but there were some equally strong opinions.
One 73-year-old woman, who has lived on Munsbrough Lane for 17 years, said she was “absolutely incensed”, adding: “My blood level has risen back up to the roof again, just like in 2009.
“If they weren’t building as much, if it was a few bungalows, then they wouldn’t need a school or any of that.
“We wouldn’t be losing so much of the land from our view.”
Cath Hallam, of Munsbrough Lane, said: “I think they’ve stitched us up. We said please build on all the brownfield sites, but they say they’re not good enough.
“But there's plenty of areas that haven't been finished off. Why start somewhere else and spoil it?”
Neighbour Marjorie Green added: “With Brexit, we should be able to feed ourselves on our own, so we need our farms.”
But Edwin Ramsbottom, who runs Clough Nurseries garden centre, said: “I feel better about it than I did before.
“It’s going to be a shame to see the green belt go, but these things happen, and it does appear they are keeping quite a lot of the green land.”
Bassingthorpe Farm is mostly owned by Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estates.
Rotherham Borough Council, which took the land out of the green belt in 2014, also owns part.
Fitzwilliam agent Anthony Barber-Lomax said they had been working on the plans for three or four years and the site was “a natural place” to put housing.
Paul Woodcock, the council’s director of planning, regeneration and culture, said the site was broadly split into residential down the west and greenery to the east.
He added: “People have been asking questions about transport, what it will mean for their view.
“It’s all part of the process.
“Quite a lot of work has been done in looking at the landscape character, drainage, ground conditions and other elements as we look at the site in more detail.
“This is the second key site after Waverley, so it is very important.”
The first steam engine on a Yorkshire coalfield was installed at Greasbrough in 1735.
Tony Dodsworth, of Greasbrough Community History Society, said: “It’s an important area historically and that needs to be respected if they are going to build here.
“A bigger problem is that it’s right next to the New Stubbin pit site.
“They are not using that for anything, but they are taking this, which has some value in terms of scenery and amenities.”