A HOUSING developer convicted of flouting planning conditions and fined as a consequence has re-submitted a twice-rejected housing scheme blighted by controversy.

Gleeson Homes, the Sheffield-based builder involved in a long-running wrangle with Barnsley Council over the materials it prefers to use on its drives, has lodged a fresh application seeking permission to build a 97-home estate off Lowfield Road, Bolton-upon-Dearne.

It is the third phase of its building in the area but it’s been the subject of opposition from the Friends of Lowfield Road Action Group, who attracted more than 240 objections when the application was last refused.

The council’s planning board opted to turn down the Lowfield Road scheme most recently last June, on the grounds of Gleeson’s insistence on using gravel instead of a solid surface, flood risks and traffic concerns, while a subsequent appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was also dismissed in January.

The fresh scheme for the 6.5-acre site includes nine four-bedroom, 60 three-bedroom and 28 two-bedroom dwellings, according to a planning report which says Gleeson has ‘listened to the council’s recommendations’.

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It said: “The evolution of the design process has been shown, taking into account the site context, planning policy and recommendations of the council and the submitted design provides a response to the site context that conforms to relevant policies.

“In terms of regeneration, the redevelopment of this site represents a significant opportunity to continue the regeneration of this part of the town which has suffered from decay and complement the earlier phases of residential development in this location, providing a natural extension and defined boundary to the urban area.

“Redevelopment of the site for residential use therefore represents a significant opportunity to consolidate existing residential development proposals in this location alongside the other economic benefits which the land use proposals will bring.

“We consider that the proposal represents sustainable development, based on the economic, social and environmental enhancements that would result from development.

“On this basis, it is considered that the benefits of the proposed development will enhance the sustainability of the site overall and provide economic investment to an area in need of regeneration, through the delivery of both open market and affordable housing which complements and supports the role of Bolton-upon-Dearne.”

Earlier this year the firm received a bill of almost £8,000 - which accounted for two £1,900 fines, court costs and a surcharge - from Judge Naomi Redhouse at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court having pleaded guilty to using gravel, which is not permitted by the council, on its drives.

While no mention of this has been made in the planning statement, previous concerns about the site’s flood risk were allayed, with a report saying there is ‘no historical evidence’ to suggest it’s been affected by flooding.

Tom Holmes, from the Friends of Lowfield Road Action Group, said: “It’s time to stand up and say ‘no more’. With phase two already built and another request to build a further 97 houses, this will significantly increase the chances of a serious accident.

“Highways may have other views on this, however local knowledge is best and should be considered. The original entrance was for a factory and at the time, the number of dwellings and footfall were significantly less.

“The land proposed for development is on perimeter of the flood plain. This has been breached twice in the last 12 years and no longer can be classed as a once-in-a-hundred-years event.

“We’re fully aware of the bullishness of the said developer and they are renowned for failing to comply with planning regulations or to fulfil promises. In fact, the Secretary of State on two appeals has upheld decisions against them. We feel the application should be turned down and the land not developed.”

The group will host a meeting at The Legion, Station Road, on Wednesday at 7.45pm. Comments about the application can be made on the council’s website until August 10.