Villagers' anger over Orgreave restoration delays

VILLAGERS in Orgreave face another two years’ disruption from the former pit site — a decade after the frequent delays were labelled an affront to the community.

Residents feel they have been lied to after being promised restored countryside on the former opencast pit site including disability-friendly country paths and a golf course on the land.

The Harworth Group’s bid for a two-year extension to 2021 is the eighth time a delay or alteration has been submitted for the Waverley project.

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Cllr Mike Fargher, vice chairman of Orgreave Parish Council, said: “Residents feel they have been strung along and lied to since their original proposal to develop the site was outlined.

“Residents remember being promised that, once open-casting was finished, the site would be turned into a country park and a golf course!”

Resident Adrian Finbow (53), of Coalbook Avenue, said: “I think it’s time that Rotherham Council  puts people’s wellbeing before someone’s profits.

“I have owned this house for 30 years and for approximately the last 27, we have had to put up with pollution and dust, and noise from heavy machinery.

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“There’s also the speed that the lorries travel at to the tip. They don’t keep to the speed limits.”

Mr Finbow (53, pictured) added: “This work was due to be finished this year. We were told there would be paths to walk, suitable for disabled people too.

“There is none of this yet. There’s no disabled access and, as the father of a disabled adult, I think that’s disgraceful in this day and age of equality.”

Contractors Red have brought more than a million cubic metres of inert material to the site, the current application said.

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There had been 100,000m3 in the past 12 months but the rate had fallen because of a decline in construction activity and increased traffic, Harworth added.

The firm’s planning statement claimed the entire Waverley project could be harmed if the latest extension was rejected.

It said: “If the permitted end date cannot be extended, the volume of inert waste to be imported will be insufficient to achieve the restoration proposals and the final landform profile, to the detriment of the Waverley development scheme as a whole.

“While the proposal will mean a further two years of restoration activity and traffic movement, the site is within the Waverley development site and is not considered to create any significant adverse impacts on the amenity of neighbouring residents.”

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The parish council voted to object at its latest meeting, based on noise, dust and traffic issues.

Cllr Fargher said: “The 2010 application was for completion by the end of 2013 and now, several applications later, they are now asking for the end of 2021.

“Furthermore, 450,000 cubic metres has grown to 1,190,000 cubic metres. Quite a large variance.

“There is the also the question of the vast increase in tipping fee income generated by the increase of 740,000 cubic metres.”

Cllr Fargher urged RMBC to explore ways of the community benefiting from this cash, such as through Section 106 deals.

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