COUNCILLORS who threw out a fracking firm’s drill plan will be asked by officers to withdraw their road safety objection.
Chemical giant Ineos had its proposals for a 2,800-metre exploratory well in Woodsetts thrown out by RMBC’s planning board for a second time in September last year.
Elected members rejected the plan on the grounds of road safety and noise and the matter is set for an appeal in June.
But Rotherham Borough Council officers have recommended withdrawing the highways concern ahead of the planning inspectorate hearing.
A spokesman for protest group Woodsetts Against Fracking said: “This feels like a huge betrayal of the community who have worked so hard to raise funds and build a case to fight Ineos at inquiry.
“It now seems that the council is prepared to leave us high and dry to fight the traffic argument on our own.”
Councillors will be asked to decide how to proceed at Thursday morning’s planning board meeting.
A report to members said: “Officers have reviewed the information, taken legal advice and approached a number of private consultants in an attempt to engage external expert witnesses for the forthcoming inquiry in order to avoid professional integrity issues arising.
“Responses were received from five consultants, who had reviewed the information but were unable to provide a robust case to support the reason for refusal.”
The WAF spokesman said: “Rotherham’s transport planning officers appear to be totally out of their depth and unwilling to abide by the decision of their elected members.
“If councillors vote on Thursday to overturn their original decision, it will be a betrayal of the community they serve, but more than that, it will be a betrayal of local democracy.
“What we have here, is the tail wagging the dog.”
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.