08:00 Saturday 01 December 2012

Campaigners still fighting to halt plans for houses on playing field

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

RESIDENTS campaigning against plans to build 100 homes on a former school playing field have made it clear they remain firmly against the development.

Generic Online News 2A decision on proposals to create a housing development on the former Forest of Needwood Secondary School playing fields, off Station Road, Rolleston, is looming, and campaigners are eager to let residents know they have not backed down.

A decision on the playing fields has not yet been determined but is expected to be made by East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee in the new year.

Burton and South Derbyshire College sparked fury in Rolleston earlier this year when it announced its intention to sell off the land — which it has owned since the 1980s — to developers.

Residents are unhappy that there could be an increase in traffic in the area and are particularly incensed that the proposals have been drawn up despite the implementation of the Localism Act, which aims to give residents more of a say in what goes on where they live.

Campaigners claim that the piece of land is set to disappear, with suggestions the college is selling it to help fund an £8 million upgrade.

Philip White, who lives in Garrett Square, close to the proposed development site, said: “Rolleston on Dove has one of the most advanced neighbourhood plans in the country. As part of this, villagers have been asked where they want housing and the college field site has consistently been rejected as an option.

“This is because the site is a playing field and is used by villagers every day for recreation. It is a valued community asset.

“In addition we have taken advice from independent consultants who have confirmed that the roads would become dangerous if the development went ahead.

“We are not against any development in Rolleston, the problem is this is the worst site in the village for housing and we want our rights respected under the Localism Act to decide where homes are built in our community.”

Simon Anderson, from the College Fields Action Group said it was an issue which was important to many people in the area.

He said: “We want people to know they can still object and play a part in the planning process.

“Rolleston has worked very hard to develop a neighbourhood plan. This plan has had more than 2,500 hours of voluntary time put in by local people throughout the village. More than 700 people have been involved.

“Rolleston has had people from the age of seven to 98 involved in its plan which shows the true diversity of public engagement.”

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