Visions of...planning permission

7th Sep 2011

We're calling on Rotherham Council to demand that developers apply for new planning permission for the proposed Visions of China theme park at Rother Valley Country Park.

We've campaigned for many years to save land that lies within Rotherham’s Green Belt from the YES! project. Despite gaining outline planning permission, the YES! Project ran into financial difficulties and folded earlier this year.

MCD Developments is now planning to build Visions of China at Rother Valley Country Park instead – but using planning permission agreed for the YES! Project. We think Visions of China is even worse than the YES! Project. The creation of Shaolin temples, Shangai streets, oriental tea houses, spas and a hotel will hardly be in keeping with the character of the area, and will have a significant effect on the appearance of the country park and the wider landscape. From what we’ve seen of the artist’s impression, it looks as though Visions of China spreads beyond the footprint of the YES! project and includes the lakes at the bottom of the site. Given that this new development is so different to the YES! Project, we think that Visions of China needs to reapply for planning permission.

We want to see developers start a fresh application process. This would give local people a chance to examine and have their say about the new plans.

However you look at it, Visions of China is an original scheme. But we’re also really concerned about whether such a niche development can be sustained over the long term. And then what would happen? We don’t want to see a white elephant in Rotherham’s Green Belt.

We’re not against the country park being developed for leisure as long as it is appropriate and doesn’t spoil the landscape of the valley. For instance, we were in favour of the Olympic standard kayaking course and other outdoor recreational activities that were included in plans for the YES! Project.

We've written to Rotherham Council asking it to clarify its legal position on planning permission for the site.