The Planning Board at Rotherham Council will discuss controversial plans for an independent school and gospel hall at a meeting on Thursday.
In a report to members the council’s planning officers have recommended that the scheme on greenbelt land in North Anston be refused.
Elsworth Acres submitted the application on behalf of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church for the site between Common Road and Todwick Road in November.
The plans would see a single storey school building, convention centre and gospel hall, with car parking, coach parking and informal play areas on the 7.5 acre site next to Thornberry Animal Sanctuary.
The Brethren have an existing school on the Hellaby Industrial Estate near Maltby.
But they are looking for an alternative site as that building is now too cramped to cater for its growing number of students.
When the application was submitted, Sarah Foster, community consultation coordinator for the project, said the Brethren had a ‘desperate need’ for a new location.
She said they had been searching for a suitable site for years, and were having to promote building in the greenbelt as there were ‘no other suitable sites available’.
The report to the Planning Board reads: “It was originally designed to accommodate 60 children, although subsequent additions mean that the current capacity is 100 pupils.”
“The applicants have provided information with the application stating that in September 2011 enrolment increased from 107 to 115 pupils and the forecast for 2012 and 2013 is for a total around 123 and 128 pupils respectively.”
But officers feel the applicants have not demonstrated that ‘very special circumstances exist’ to outweigh any harm the development would do to the greenbelt.
The report continues: “The proposed development represents inappropriate development in the greenbelt and no very special circumstances have been demonstrated to overcome the harm caused by the inappropriate development.”
“ It is considered that by way of its size and location the proposed development would have a materially adverse effect on the openness and visual amenity of the greenbelt.”
What do you think about the Brethren’s plans? Email us at email@example.com or write to us at Dinnington Guardian, 21-27 Ryton Street, Worksop, S80 2AY.