CAMPAIGNING residents were gutted after housing plans they defeated last year were passed on appeal.
Network Space’s proposal for 64 homes off Blue Mans Way in Catcliffe brought an angry response and more than 70 objection letters.
The plan was thrown out by Rotherham Borough Council’s planning board 12 months ago over the loss of urban greenspace.
But planning inspector Paul Singleton decided that the additional houses would make a positive contribution to the area and help meet housing targets.
Resident Nick Howarth said: “The community as a whole is devastated. We’re all gutted at the loss of this green space, which we do use, and devastated by the fact that the lorries and traffic will be coming through the estate.
“The reason this has happened is that Rotherham Council has failed to deliver its housing quota. It’s pretty much down to them having such a poor record for numbers of houses being built.
“If I draw a circle on a map with a one-mile radius from my house, there are something like 3,089 new houses or ones being built. Yet it’s still not enough.
“My daughter is at Brinsworth Howarth school. She’s in a class of 34 and I think some of the other classes are even bigger.”
Rotherham Borough Council’s annual target is 731 new properties. The total for the first three quarters of 2016/17 was only 475 homes.
Residents were angered when Network Space - formerly called the Langtree Group - cleared hundreds of trees from the 6.5 acre Catcliffe site after planning permission was denied.
The firm insisted the work was routine maintenance but residents saw it as intentionally making the land less valuable as greenspace to improve the chances of winning an appeal.
Mr Singleton said: “The representations submitted suggest a very limited level of local concern about the loss of the vegetation or of the site as an area of urban green space, with such concerns having been raised in only a very small number of the objections to the application.
“The appeal proposal would result in only 40 per cent of the site area being retained as green space but would lead to a substantial improvement in the value and usability of that retained land as urban green space.”
The sole access being from Blue Mans Way is also among the reasons for some residents opposing the project.
RMBC brought in a tree preservation order after rejecting the original plans in the hope of protecting the site.
Supermarket Morrisons is hoping to build 89 properties to the south of the site, using access from Poplar Way.
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