Playing field floodlight plans passed on appeal

CAMPAIGNERS are still hopeful controversial plans for floodlit rugby pitches on Herringthorpe Playing Fields will be kicked into touch despite suffering a major setback.

Rotherham Rugby Club were celebrating this week after a planning inspector upheld their appeal against Rotherham Borough Council’s decision to reject the application for new training and playing facilities for the club’s amateur and junior teams.

The verdict was a bitter blow for residents who attended a site in February and successfully convinced councillors to reject the scheme.

But the Friends of Herringthorpe Playing Fields are still hopeful of blocking the scheme as the council has yet to formally agree to lease the land needed.

Boston Castle ward councillor Mahroof Hussain said residents were mobilising in preparation for a fresh campaign lobbying the council not to sign the lease.

“They don’t want to see part of the fields handed over to a private organisation,” he said.

“There were 900 objections last time around and they are refreshing those objections to highlight that it is still a current issue.”

But an inspector has now ruled against the council’s decision and told the rugby club they can press on with the development, which will provide a permanent home for the club’s amateur and junior sides.

Club director John McCormick said: “This will effectively be a home ground for several teams so it’s absolutely fantastic news. Hopefully, we can build on this and grow as a club.

“Rugby is a very social game and it will be good to have somewhere we can all get together in the spirit of sport."

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