Autumn view of the old Hepworth factory site

What happens next in the Loxley valley planning inquiry

The planning inquiry into the proposed redevelopment of the old Loxley valley factories begins its second week of hearing evidence today, Monday April 19th.

This post briefly summarises what has happened so far. We summarise what the appeal hearing is all about. We also explain what is due to happen this week and later. And we explain why it will take some time before the Inspector’s decision is known.

What has happened so far?

In the first week of the inquiry, the parties presented their opening statements. Concerned members of the public were able to state their views for and against the scheme.

And the Planning Inspector chaired ‘Round Table’ discussions to assess whether Sheffield has a five-year supply of housing land, what the ‘landscape and visual impact’ of the housing scheme would be, and what the consequences would be for ecology and biodiversity.

What is the inquiry trying to decide, and how are we involved?

The inquiry is considering an appeal by Patrick Properties Strategic Land. They are contesting Sheffield City Council’s refusal of outline planning permission for a new township of up to 300 homes on the site of the old ‘Hepworth’ refractory works.

Sheffield City Council is defending its decision. The council says the refusal was made for valid planning reasons.

We and CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire are taking part in the proceedings as a fully involved ‘Rule 6 party’. This is thanks to your generous contributions to our planning appeal fighting fund.

This means we are putting our own evidence to the inquiry. And we can question the witnesses who appear on behalf of Patrick Properties.

What is the timetable for the rest of the inquiry?

The inquiry hearing was due to resume at 2pm on Monday, April 19th.

It is then due to take evidence on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Then it is due to adjourn until at least another two days of evidence in early June.

The long break is because some witnesses and legal representatives are not available in the final week of April.

Once the hearing has finished, the Planning Inspector may take some time to consider his verdict. The outcome may not be known until later in the summer.

What is due to happen this week?

Today our transport witness Anne Robinson will take part in a ‘Round Table’ discussion on the accessibility of the site.

She will give detailed evidence on why the new development would be too remote from everyday amenities. She will say it lacks viable walking or cycling routes, and has poor public transport links.

There will then be further ‘Round Table’ discussions this week on housing need and land supply, and on contamination on the site.

Later this week, the inquiry is due to hear detailed examination and cross examination of the main planning witnesses.

Our planning consultant Andrew Wood is due to give his detailed evidence on Wednesday.

You can follow the inquiry via a video livestream on the Planning Inspectorate YouTube channel. This link will connect you to it:

We have decided to refrain from detailed opinion or commentary while the proceedings are active.  

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