We believe Sheffield City Council will send out a confusing message if it supports controversial plans to build a new township on the edge of the Green Belt.
We are strongly opposed to plans by Patrick Properties to build up to 300 new houses on the derelict Hepworth’s site in the Loxley Valley.
If the council backs the scheme, it will be going against its own vision in its draft Local Plan.
Our chief executive, Tomo Thompson outlined concerns in a recent letter to council Leader Julie Dore and cabinet member for planning Bob Johnson, explaining that the proposed re-development of the site has ignited opposition from all across the city.
We have been very clear that, despite it being a brownfield site, the proposals are unsustainable, damaging to the Green Belt and are not required to meet the city’s housing needs.
And there is a particular additional risk because the full details of the development are not on the table and cannot be judged.
We welcomed the Issues and Options paper for the Sheffield Plan which will be consulted on in September, and especially welcome its aims on environment, sustainability and a city that cherishes, protects and enhances its green spaces and heritage assets.
We also applaud the commitment ‘to minimise the number of homes on the Green Belt’ and setting out options that make the choices clear.
And although the new Sheffield Plan is a long way from adoption and other policies currently prevail, we are very clear that the planning application for the Hepworths site can and should be refused.
Given the vision and aims for the city that you have set out, we believe the current proposals are both irreconcilable in planning and political terms with your emerging Plan objectives.
Anything other than refusal would signal an untimely and confusing message in relation to the very genuine aspirations of the Plan consultation.