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~ CPRE has spoken out against house builders’ demands to develop swathes of Green Belt land around Rotherham.
At the Rotherham Local Plan Examination in Public, which closes today (Friday), big housing developers including Taylor Wimpey and Ackroyd & Abbott have repeatedly called for ‘big and early’ releases of sites from the Green Belt, that would allow large-scale house building in the countryside in places like Dinnington, Wickersley and Treeton.
CPRE’s planning officer, Andrew Wood, said "We may need more housing in South Yorkshire but it must be in the right places. This means concentrating on brownfield sites and achieving much better public transport. Letting new housing sprawl out into the countryside just makes matters worse, by not recycling derelict sites and housing people further and further away from public services."
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council needs to plan to build 14,500 new homes by 2028, and some of these will need to be on greenfield sites. However, CPRE has called for a ‘phased approach’ that ensures brownfield sites in Waverley and central Rotherham are developed first, and greenfield sites are only developed if and when they are really needed. Representatives of the house building industry have lobbied for just the opposite: a big and early release of greenfield sites that will inevitably eat into the countryside and reduce Rotherham’s focus on recycling its former industrial sites.
"The house builders claim that building in the Green Belt will fix the housing crisis," Andrew Wood said, "but in reality they simply have their eyes on juicy development sites. The real crisis is in affordable housing, and these proposals do very little to address that."