A BIG boost to Rotherham’s regeneration ambitions was received this week with the news that plans for a massive office campus and hotel on the Waverley site will be decided locally.
The Government agreed not to “call in” plans for nearly 4,000 houses, shops and community facilities plus 60,000 square metre of office spaces and left the decision-making to Rotherham councillors—meaning it is virtually certain to go ahead.
The applications were initially considered at Rotherham Borough Council’s planning board in January but under planning regulations had to be sent to the
Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber for consideration before any final decision could be made.
Members of the Rotherham planning board agreed to support the outline application by Harworth Estates for a new community at Waverley between Rotherham and Sheffield—the former 230 hectare Orgreave Open Cast site owned by UK Coal.
They also supported a second application for offices, a hotel, retail and leisure facilities for Helical Governetz on land off Highfield Spring, Catcliffe.
The authority has now received confirmation from the Government that it will not “call in” the applications.
The Secretary of State took into account planning policies relating to safeguarding the countryside, plans for a mix of housing types and affordability on the site and provision of sustainable transport.
Bronwen Peace, Rotherham’s planning manager, said that the plans were the largest, most complex, planning applications ever considered by Rotherham.
She said: “It is reassuring that the Government, after having considered all the issues and all the received representations, has decided not to intervene and will now allow Rotherham to determine both applications.”
Cllr David Pickering, chairman of the Rotherham Planning Board, added: “This decision will give a great boost for Rotherham, its on-going regeneration and its aims to provide sustainable housing on brownfield land.
“The reclamation of this former opencast mine is almost complete, lakes have been created on site for drainage purposes and public access around the site is already available.
“But now we can look forward to issuing the permission and dealing with future detailed applications to secure its built development in the very near future.”