Travellers’ Swallownest site plan rejected

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a travellers’ site on green belt land — which attracted more than 500 objections — have been turned down by council chiefs.

Rotherham Borough Council has refused an application for 12 travellers’ pitches off Chesterfield Road, Swallownest — near land earmarked for the £37 million Gulliver’s Valley theme park.

During the application’s consultation process, the council received so many objections that it could not publish them all on its website.

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Now, a decision notice said the proposal would represent an “inappropriate development in the green belt”.

It said: “The site is considered to be unsustainable, being located a significant distance from day-to-day facilities — such that future occupiers would be reliant on travel by car, further compounded by the lack of footpaths on the A57 Chesterfield Road.

“No special circumstances have been demonstrated to justify the inappropriate development and any other harm caused.

“The development is also contrary to Development Plan Policy and the National Planning Policy Framework.”

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The development would have been next to the Pithouse West site, where national chain Gulliver’s hope to build a theme park, adventure centre, glamping woodland lodges, a hotel and a holiday village.

Ray Darby, who lives near the site, said: “If the travellers’ site scheme had gone ahead it would have put a nail in the coffin of the proposed Gulliver’s theme park and a loss of around 250 jobs in the Rother Valley.

“The law states that all councils must provide sites for travellers — but never on the A57.”

The Gulliver’s Valley resort would also include community facilities, nature trails, outdoor gyms and woodland walks.

If approved, it will be built in five phases over a 12-year period.