Major new housing scheme at Denaby

The public-funded white elephant The Earth Centre, has now been redeveloped and re-opened as Kingswood Dearne Valley educational facility. The Earth Centre was created by Doncaster Council for the millennium but failed as a visitor attraction, it was purchased for an 'undisclosed sum' by Kingswood last year. (Photograph by Jonathan Pow | http://rossparry.co.uk)
The public-funded white elephant The Earth Centre, has now been redeveloped and re-opened as Kingswood Dearne Valley educational facility. The Earth Centre was created by Doncaster Council for the millennium but failed as a visitor attraction, it was purchased for an 'undisclosed sum' by Kingswood last year. (Photograph by Jonathan Pow | http://rossparry.co.uk)
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Plans for a new major housing development on the site of the former Earth Centre car parking areas at Denaby are under consideration.

Developers hope to build 177 homes and garages on land which remains unused, since the Earth Centre went in to administration and was mothballed in 2004.

After being awarded a sum of £41.6 million by the Millennium Commission to get started, the attraction failed to attract the numbers it needed to stay afloat.

Much of the 400 acre site is now occupied by a residential educational adventure centre, who acquired it in 2011 after it was revealed that the cost of upkeep to Doncaster Council was £200,000 a year. They opened the facility in 2012.

The most recent major scheme put before Doncaster Council planners this month is for the vast car parking areas at Kilners Bridge, Denaby Main. Sheffield developer Gleeson should receive feedback on the application within the next couple of months.

A spokesman for the company that also has substantial current developments at Wath and Finningley said the Earth Centre project would be “very much in the traditional Gleeson style” with a good mix of house types aimed at the lower end of the market.

But local councillors are keen to study the plans in detail with a view to address any potential concerns about access from the busy main road running from Conisbrough to Mexborough and with regard to local services.

Coun Sandra Holland said: “I am aware that the planning application from Gleeson Homes in partnership with Pearson Developments has been submitted to planning, and will be looking at it in detail.

“There is a need for more housing in this area so on the face of it I would welcome the plans. The site also creates problems as people use it for fly tipping so it would be better put to good use.

“Having said that, we would need to be sure that the infrastructure around the site is suitable and that there are services to support the number of people and properties, including provision in schools. I would also hope there would be affordable housing included.”

One former failed scheme for the site was an eco-village by environmental activists who wanted a community allotment scheme in 2010. A consortium of business and academic institutions also considered basing their resource for ‘intelligent sustainability’ there.