Campaigners claim victory in fence fight

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A CONTROVERSIAL fence has been removed from land which residents in a South Yorkshire village want preserving as public open space - but housing plans for the site are still set to proceed.

Gladedale Homes, which is buying the land at Cadman Street, Manvers, from Rotherham Council, had erected the fence while carrying out surveying work.

Louise Mycroft, of Manvers Green campaign group, said: “The fence was erected more than a month ago on the land, which we have been fighting to save from development for a number of years.

“Two weeks ago, residents set up their own colourful ‘peace camp’ in protest against the fence.

“We are so thrilled it has been removed. It’s not just a victory for us but a victory for peaceful campaigning too.

“Like many people in the UK, we were frustrated at the lack of response via formal channels but we have proved you don’t need to riot or tear things down to show decision-makers you mean business.”

Louise said residents are aware of Gladedale’s pending planning application to develop the site but pledged to fight on.

The residents failed in a bid to have the site registered as a village green three years ago.

But Louise said: “We love this land and we’ll fight - peacefully - to save it. We won’t back down.”

Rotherham Council said the fence had been removed due to the completion of surveying work, rather than the protests.

A spokeswoman added: “The company has recently been conducting ground survey work on the site, which is the subject of an undetermined planning application dating back to 2008.

“We understand we can expect revised proposals to be submitted for the site in the future. Obviously any new proposals would be subject to the usual public consultation as part of the application.

“The majority of the site is allocated for residential purposes under the Unitary Development Plan with a small part designated as a urban green space. There was a malthouse and then a warehouse on the site together with 11 terrace properties.”