Homes scheme gets go-ahead after nearly a decade

A CONTROVERSIAL housing development in Doncaster which has been going through the planning process for almost a decade has finally been given the go-ahead.

In 2001 developers Persimmon Homes applied to build 1,100 new homes on a 70-acre site known as Manor Farm, between Rossington and Bessacarr.

As well as the houses, the plans include a new retirement village, shops, leisure facilities and a school.

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Andrew Bowes, managing director of Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, said: "Since 2001, when the planning application was initially submitted, we've worked tirelessly to achieve a plan that would satisfy all interested parties.

"Therefore, we're now pleased to have successfully reached a resolution that we believe will significantly benefit the local community with housing and employment."

This was the second such planning application for the site, as plans for a similar housing development were submitted in 1990 and turned down in 2000.

Despite recommendations from planning officers that the development was in line with planning policy and should be approved, Persimmon's application was refused when it went before Doncaster's councillors at a meeting in December 2008, on the ground of the impact on roads and the local environment.

A vast number of objections had been received from local residents, who said new housing should be built on "brown field" sites rather than open fields. They also said such a large amount of new homes would have a massive impact on the local highways system, as Manor Farm is an isolated site, cut off by two railway lines and a motorway.

But after the application was rejected, Persimmon Homes appealed and the development was granted planning consent by an inspector last year.

The decision of the inspector has now been upheld by John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government meaning that work on the new development can begin.

Geoff Bennett, a member of the Manor Farm Action Group which campaigned against the plans, said the group now wanted to work with Persimmon to ensure the development was "the best that it can be".

"We're not surprised, but we are disappointed," he said. "What really annoys us, as well as the loss of our countryside, is the effect it will have on traffic congestion. He added: "We may have lost the war, but we've won a number of battles along the way. The hard work has also brought the community together."