Combined voice is making progress on greenbelt issue

Residents of Birkdale Avenue protest over plans to build on green belt land.  Pictured is Diane Walker and Graham Capper examine a map detailing the proposed areas for development  (w110831-8b)

Residents of Birkdale Avenue protest over plans to build on green belt land. Pictured is Diane Walker and Graham Capper examine a map detailing the proposed areas for development (w110831-8b)

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AN action group set up to prevent building on greenbelt land is pleased with the progress it has made since forming.

The Dinnington and Anston Save Our Greenbelt Action Group has had several meetings with Rotherham councillors, council bosses and in the latest, with Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron.

The group are fighting plans to prevent homes being built on greenbelt land.

Rotherham Council is developing a plan which shows where development will be in the borough over the next 15 years, called the Local Plan.

The action group has suggested more hectares of brownfield sites, sufficient to support the number of homes suggested in the plan.

The group said in its latest meeting Rotherham Council officers re-iterated the commitment of the council to prioritising the use of brownfield land, in accordance with the agreement made between council bosses and the group in November.

A spokesman for the group said: “Over the past nine months the group has had many productive meetings with council officers with a view to minimising the risk of building on greenbelt land.”

He added: “There have been, and still are, critics of this process of discussion, preferring a head-on, more aggressive campaign based on a perceived lack of trust with the council.”

“What is clear is that the persistent, combined voice of the local community is an important facet in protecting greenbelt.”

“The council is perfectly clear that the group is not a quick-fix co-operative; the faces will change, the techniques may change but the group will carry on as long as it is necessary.”

The group feel that the assurances made between the council and them will result in greater number of derelict areas been used for development, and no high quality agricultural land.

“However, it is not time to rest on laurels and stand down,” added the spokesman.

The local authority has recently consulted on its core strategy which advised that land for 12,750 homes be built over 15 years

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said the authority welcomes the ongoing co-operation with the Dinnington and Anston Save Our Green Belt Group.

He added: “The recent meeting with members of the group, MP Kevin Barron, councillors and council officers was productive and helped to reaffirm the commitment of all parties to using brownfield land as a priority.”

“The group’s useful suggestions of alternative sites are being considered by council officers and will assist in the drafting of the next version of the plan.”

“This will be subject to full public consultation in the coming months.”