Plan for 50 homes on Green belt land surrounding Doncaster miners' welfare club put on hold

A controversial plan to build 50 homes on Green Belt land surrounding a Doncaster miners' welfare club has been put on hold.

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 3:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 3:21 pm
Land surrounding Askern Miners' Welfare Club where Gleeson Homes want to build 50 homes. Picture: Marie Caley/Doncaster Free Press

A controversial plan to build 50 homes on Green Belt land surrounding a Doncaster miners’ welfare club has been put on hold.

Councillors on Doncaster Council planning committee have requested to visit the proposed site close to Askern Miners’ Welfare Club on Manor Way before they make a decision.

The proposed site boundary

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Gleeson Homes want to build the properties with garages and an access road surrounding the venue and a £480,000 sum would be invested in the club which is in need of renovation.

But the scheme has received 11 objections from residents along Manor Way citing a loss of open space and traffic concerns.

Councillors at a meeting on Tuesday were asked by planning officer Gareth Stent to see if the investment in the club was seen as ‘special circumstances’ to allow construction on the Green Belt.

He recommended the application should be rejected and noted an ‘oversupply’ of houses in the town.

The plan has the backing of the club, nearby football and cricket clubs and Norton & Askern ward councillors Austen White and John Gilliver, who spoke at the meeting in support.

Planning chiefs also received 122 signatures backing the scheme, which supporters say will secure much needed funds for repair work to keep the club, described as a ‘focal point’ for the community, going.

Planning officer Gareth Stent said the development was ‘inappropriate in principle because it is on the Green Belt’.

But councillors White and Gilliver responded and said the proposed site was a ‘wasteland’ and was an area common with ‘drug abuse’ and ‘fires’. They added money used for the sale of land would be ploughed back into the club, which is a sporting base for a number of teams and societies.

Coun White told the committee: “Those of you who represent mining communities will understand the role miners’ welfare clubs play.

“Despite the club bringrun by a group of volunteers, there are ever increasing financial demands to keep the facility in tact and available to all.

“There is no other venue in Askern which can host all these sports teams – without the Welfare these activities would cease.

“If the Welfare should go out of business - and it might if funding to sustain it isn’t found - there will be nowhere for sport to take place and activity levels will plunge even lower and health levels will be even poorer.”

Coun Gilliver likened the state of the land to ‘Beirut’ and urged councillors to approve the plans.

He said: “This is still a great opportunity that can be grasped.

“This is the only building of this type in the area that can offer what it does.”

Documents seen by councillors shows a basic state of repair will cost over £182,000 of immediate work to refurbish the building close to its ‘potential maximum functionality’, while an additional £651,940 would need to be spent over the next five years. Councillors decided to attend a site visit before making a decision next month.