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Environment groups attack plans for huge Yorkshire indoor development

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Plans to build Europe's largest indoor leisure development on a former coal-mining site in Rotherham, South Yorkhire, have been slated by pro-countryside activists.

Conservation lobby group the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has labelled the £300 million 'Yes!' project on the green-belt site as 'inappropriate' and 'potentially devastating'.

The brainchild of architects CZWG and Holder Mathias, the scheme would completely transform the now-closed Pithouse West coal mine.

Plans for the new tourist 'destination' include an extreme sports centre, two hotels, a hi-tech outdoor driving range, spa facilities and a new railway station.

However, CPRE's planning officer John King is demanding the development is turned down when it comes before Rotherham Council for outline permission tomorrow (Thursday 11).

He said: 'The initiative is entirely unsuitable for this location. It makes no sense to devastate an attractive, regenerated green-belt site when previously developed, brownfield land in the area lies idle.'

However, the council is recommending the development, which is being backed by developer Oak Holdings, is conditionally approved even though it acknowledges that 'the proposal represents inappropriate development in the green belt.'

It is understood the project will be called in by the regional Government Office should the application be given the go-ahead.

by Richard Waite

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