Council told to add 3,000 new houses to development plans

AN INSPECTOR has told Rotherham Council it must add an extra 3,000 new houses to its controversial Local Plan.

Following a three-week consultation process last October, councillors agreed on a target of 14,000 new homes to be built over the next 15 years as part of the plan which sets out future development across the borough.

However, an independent planning inspector has now recommended that Rotherham increases its target to 17,000 in a bid to make up on a “shortfall from previous years”.

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The authority will now have to go out to consultation on the inspector’s changes which will be discussed at next Wednesday’s (5) Cabinet meeting.

Cllr Gerald Smith, Cabinet member for regeneration and development, said: “We welcome the inspector’s initial findings on the Local Plan but unfortunately, to enable it to be fully-endorsed we have got to make changes.

“Rotherham has long-recognised the concerns of local residents about the loss of Green Belt and we argued for a housing figure that is lower than the previous government-imposed regional target.

“Over the last few years Rotherham has not seen as many new homes built as we would have liked.

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“This is despite there being capacity for over 5,000 new homes with planning permission each year for the last five years.

“This shortfall is due to market conditions and not a lack of permissions on suitable sites.”