Brethren plans back on the table

plans for an independent school, convention centre and gospel hall on greenbelt land in North Anston have been resubmitted to Rotherham Council.

Saturday, 24th November 2012, 9:50 am

Elsworth Acres submitted the application on behalf of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church earlier this month for the site between Common Road and Todwick Road.

A previous application by the Brethren was withdrawn in January following discussions with planning officers.

Trustees of the school have been working with council officers since then and say they have now come up with a ‘less conspicuous’ and ‘greener’ design.

Sarah Foster, community consultation coordinator for the project, said: “The revised scheme is different in that the position of the buildings has changed. The school is now nearest to Common Road and the meeting hall nearest the railway embankment, and the caretaker’s house has been removed.”

“The buildings have now been designed to sit lower in the ground and the roofs facing Todwick Road are proposed to have a wildflower meadow roof, making the development far less conspicuous from Todwick Road and enhancing the ecological value of the site.”

“Altogether the buildings are much ‘greener’ with photovoltaic cells generating energy, the installation of a Solawall and air source heat pumps. They have been designed to sit in the landscape.”

The plans would see a single story school building, convention centre and gospel hall, with car parking, coach parking and informal play areas on the 7.5 acre site between Common Road and Todwick Road, next to Thornberry Animal Sanctuary.

The Brethren wants to move from its current site on Hellaby Industrial Estate because it is too cramped to accommodate the 100 pupils who attend the school.

Ms Foster continued: “The Brethren community have a desperate need for a new school as the current one on the Hellaby Industrial Estate is over developed and cramped, and lacks sufficient land around it for sports activity.”

“They also have a need for a replacement meeting hall as the current one is now too small and outdated.”

“The Brethren have been looking for a new suitable site for the last 12 years and are having to promote development on the green belt site as there are no other sites suitable.”

A site search report has been submitted with the planning application showing the sites that have been investigated and why they are unsuitable.

Members of the public have until 6th December to make comments on the plans to Rotherham Council. Anston Parish Council will also be discussing the plans at a special meeting on Wednesday 5th December.

What do you think about the plans? Email us at [email protected] or call 01909 500500.