COUNCIL officials are courting controversy with plans for a giant salt bunker on the industrial estate where they turfed out an application for a building half the size.
In the wake of last winter’s big freeze, Rotherham Borough Council wants to ensure that the borough is well supplied with salt and grit in the event of a repeat performance and is planning to build a salt barn as part of its new “super depot” at Hellaby.
But the proposed salt store has already been branded a “monstrosity” by protesters after an architect’s photomontage showed how the 54ft structure would look in a prominent position just off the M18 roundabout.
Enraged Bramley resident Rob Foulds pointed out that the plans came just two years after councillors blocked an application for a 28ft high factory extension within the industrial estate on the grounds that it would amount to “an unacceptable and adverse visual intrusion in the street scene.”
“Now the council are applying to themselves for permission to build themselves a salt storage shed very prominently on the M18 roundabout with Bawtry Road, and this monstrosity will be 55ft high,” added Mr Foulds.
“They have this notion of having a nice gateway into the town and they want to put a great big igloo there. It’s an abomination.
“It’s hardly what you would call progressive architecture.
“If it had some kind of significant architectural merit that would be something but this is just a blot on the landscape, really functional and ugly.
“This is supposed to be part of the centralisation of services but I don’t see that this is a particularly central site.
“I don’t think that they’re being willfully controversial, but they are willfully pleasing themselves and ignoring their own policies.”
The salt barn was included in plans approved last summer for the new super depot at Hellaby, which will also include a fuel tank and parking for dozens of council vehicles.
The council has now formally applied for detailed permission for the “Euro Dome” design salt barn, which will operate from 6.30am to 9pm on weekdays and 7am to 12.30pm on Saturdays and be 110ft in diameter and 50ft high.
Salt stores of similar dome-like designs are in use by several other councils but objections in Rotherham centre on its prominent location.
Bramley Parish Council chairman Malcolm Brown said that he and his fellow councillors planned to formally object to the plans and would be encouraging residents to follow suit.
“I think it’s going to be a total detriment to the area,” he said. “We as a parish council do a lot to improve the environment and this will be a blot on the landscape, a total mess.
“It could be further into the estate but instead it will be right across the road from residential properties.”
The plans are expected to be considered next month and can be seen on the council website by searching for application RB2010/0727.