We are preparing an objection to the proposal for 88 houses in the Green Belt, at the former Dyson Refractories site on Stopes Road, Stannington. Just because a Green Belt site is disused and in need of cleaning up doesn't make it suitable for housing, and certainly not for a generic housing solution from a volume housebuilder.
Our planning officer, Andrew Wood, met the developer a year ago and explained our concerns; making it very clear that we think market housing would be an inappropriate use of this site.
The developer has since submitted a detailed application which gives everyone the chance to examine exactly what would be built. We believe this is, without doubt, the wrong development for the site. The illustrated 'quasi-traditional' style street scenes suggest a pattern book residential estate with token green space and the sad-looking stump of the old landmark Dyson chimney. “It looks like the kind of pastiche nonsense that gives development a bad reputation and suburbanises the countryside”, said Andrew when he saw the plans.
Friends of the Peak District and CPRE was established in Sheffield 90 years ago to prevent exactly this kind of suburban sprawl along our city's beautiful valleys. Several valleys, including the Loxley valley, bear testament to their industrial legacy, and many landowners and developers are keen to build high value homes there, suggesting this is the only financially viable way to clean up old industrial sites.
An abandoned site in a prominent rural landscape presents a range of positive opportunities, which may be more costly but are infinitely preferable to a quick-fix market housing scheme that re-ignites suburban sprawl.
This might include specifically rural uses, including food, recreation and nature, for example, with an emphasis on sustainable design and construction, and community involvement in the scheme. But any future buildings should be interesting and with strong, bespoke architecture, specific to the location.
If you wish to comment on the application please visit: http://publicaccess.sheffield.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=NI4NNJNYFY000 (The application reference is: 15/00122/FUL.)