Loxley valley

Sheffield Planning Committee REJECTS Loxley Valley township application

Sheffield Planning Committee REJECTS Loxley Valley township application

Sheffield city councillors have today REJECTED plans for a township of up to 300 homes in the Loxley valley.

The council’s Planning and Highways Committee voted unanimously to refuse permission for redevelopment of the old Hepworth refractory works.

The old factories have stood empty in the Loxley valley bottom since Hepworth plc ended production in the 1990s.

New owners Patrick Properties wanted permission to demolish the factories and replace them with a township of up to 300 homes.

But the 12 councillors at today’s planning meeting voted unanimously to reject the plans.

They backed their officers’ report recommending refusal of outline planning permission.

The officers’ report set out strong reasons for refusal. They said:

  • The proposal would damage the openness of Sheffield’s Green Belt and harm the special character of the Loxley valley;
  • The development would be unsustainable. It had too few on-site services to support it, and existing local services would be inaccessible;
  • Building on a flood plain was not justified by wider sustainability benefits to the local community;
  • There was too little information to judge the impact on biodiversity, landscape, climate change, design quality, pollution and the remediation of derelict land.

Friends of the Loxley Valley welcome the verdict

The decision follows a long campaign by Friends of the Loxley Valley.

We regretted having to fight the application, and would have preferred to work with developers for a consensual solution.

Some of the old factory buildings are derelict and do need attention.

But much of the site has returned to nature, and some of the buildings remain in use.

And the site is in an exceptionally sensitive place, in an area of special character and on the boundary of the Peak District National Park.

We would like to thank everybody who took the time and trouble to object to the planning application.

Objectors included our two local MPs, local councillors, the Peak District National Park Authority, CPRE South Yorkshire, the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, and numerous other local groups.

And around 900 local people also wrote to the council to express their concerns.

What happens now?

The developers may choose to appeal against the decision. They also have the option of going back to the council with a more acceptable proposal.

We hope they will choose to work with local people to do something green, sustainable and outstanding, in keeping with this unique Green Belt site.

But for now, we’re very pleased and relieved. We’re going to raise a glass or two to celebrate, and we hope you do too. Cheers!

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A chance to have your say on the future of our Loxley valley Green Belt countryside

A chance to have your say on the future of our Loxley valley Green Belt countryside

Sheffield City Council is asking for our views on the future of our Green Belt countryside in the Loxley valley.

The council has published an ‘Issues and Options’ paper that will guide Sheffield’s approach to building the new houses it needs to provide homes for an expanding population.

Publishing the paper is the first step in a lengthy process to draw up the new Sheffield ‘Local Plan’.

The ‘Local Plan’ will be the blueprint for how the city will be developed over the next 15 years.

The Issues and Options paper sets out three stark choices for building in our Green Belt countryside. The council is now inviting your views on which of the options you prefer, and on all other aspects of the draft plan.

As we fight unwelcome plans for a 300-home township in the heart of the Loxley valley, we think it is vital that local people make their views known.

We are urging all Friends of the Loxley Valley members and supporters to have their say!

Three choices for building houses in the Green Belt

The three broad Green Belt choices facing the city are as follows:

  • Option A – almost no new houses in the Green Belt
  • Option B: 5,000 new houses in the Green Belt (which would be about an eighth of the new houses needed)
  • Option C – 10,000 new houses in the Green Belt (a quarter of the number required up to 2038).

The council acknowledges that a key message from the last consultation in 2015 was that people want countryside and Green Belt protected.

Friends of the Loxley Valley would certainly agree with that verdict. We will be studying the options in detail and making our views known as part of the consultation period.

How to have your say

The consultation period runs from Tuesday 1st September 2020 to Tuesday 13th October 2020.

The ‘Issues and Options’ paper can be read or downloaded from the Sheffield City Council website.

You can have your say by filling in an online questionnaire on the council website.

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Countryside charity CPRE South Yorkshire condemns plans for Loxley valley township

Countryside charity CPRE South Yorkshire condemns plans for Loxley valley township

Our campaign partners CPRE South Yorkshire have posted a scathing objection to plans for a new township of 300 homes in the heart of the Loxley valley.

They say the township proposed by developers Patrick Properties would damage Sheffield’s precious Green Belt countryside.

And they warn it would transform the beauty and openness of a much-loved valley on the edge of the Peak District National Park.

The developers claim the new township on the site of long-abandoned old factories would create a ‘sustainable’ new settlement.

But the CPRE dismiss this claim as ‘laughable’. They say it would be remote from the local services needed by hundreds of new residents.

They say it would swamp local roads with extra cars. This would add to congestion and air pollution at a time of climate emergency.

The CPRE urge Sheffield councillors to throw the plans out

The comments from CPRE South Yorkshire are contained in a detailed objection to the Sheffield City Council planning department.

The council’s planning committee must decide whether to approve the planning application. CPRE South Yorkshire say it should be thrown out.

Their main points are as follows:

  • The township would encroach on open countryside and would breach both local and national Green Belt policies
  • It would be remote, isolated and unsustainable, pushing up dependence on car journeys at a time of climate emergency
  • The site is not designated for housing and is not needed for housing, as Sheffield is now building enough houses elsewhere
  • It would do little to meet local demand for affordable housing
  • The township would urbanise a quiet site on the edge of the Peak District National Park and would damage nature conservation and biodiversity

The CPRE also say the plans are far too vague, as the developers are seeking only ‘outline’ planning permission.

They warn the developers would then sell the land to housebuilders, who would not be tied to detailed planning approval.

Who are CPRE South Yorkshire?

CPRE South Yorkshire are the local branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, otherwise known as the ‘countryside charity’.

Their aim is to make the countryside a better place for everyone to live, work and enjoy.

CPRE South Yorkshire have a sister organisation, Friends of the Peak District, who work to safeguard Britain’s first national park.

The Peak District is of course on our doorstep here in the Loxley valley!

We have worked closely with CPRE South Yorkshire and Friends of the Peak District for many years.

Our joint goal is to celebrate and safeguard our beautiful valley and to protect it from damaging development.

The CPRE is an independent charity. It has a small team in Sheffield who are all experienced and passionate experts on the city’s countryside.

If you share our joint goals, we would urge you to support the charity in its work.

You can make a very real difference by making a modest donation. Or perhaps you might like to become a member?

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Friends of the Loxley Valley deliver thousands of ‘No Township!’ leaflets

Friends of the Loxley Valley deliver thousands of ‘No Township!’ leaflets

Friends of the Loxley Valley have printed thousands of leaflets to let people know that there is now more time to comment on plans for a new township in the heart of the valley.

Our members are now delivering the leaflets to every home and business in the valley, and to neighbouring areas like Hillsborough and Walkley.

The leaflets give guidance on how to make your views known to the Sheffield City Council planning committee.

They explain why there is more time to comment – the official statutory consultation period now ends on July 30th.

And they summarise progress in the #NoLoxleyTownship campaign so far.

Nearly 800 individuals and organisations have objected at the time of writing this post.

They include the Peak District National Park Authority, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Rivelin Valley Conservation Group, plus our two MPs and local councillors.

The leaflet is also available electronically. It includes links that you can use to make comments to the planners.

You can download it here. Please feel free to share it widely if you know people further afield who might help with our campaign.

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Deadline for township comments is extended AGAIN to 30th July

Deadline for township comments is extended AGAIN to 30th July

STOP PRESS: The planning department has now completed a new set of site notices around the Loxley valley. So far as we can tell, they have updated them ALL with the date when the last notice was posted.

The photograph above shows one of the new notices at Rowell Bridge. It’s slightly smeared by the rain, but you can see that the new date of posting is 30th June.

This replaces the notice posted a little earlier on 24th June, (see our last news post).

The notice wording makes it clear: you now have 30 days from 30th June to submit comments on the proposed new Loxley valley township.

So if we’ve calculated correctly the NEW new deadline is now Thursday 30th July.

The planning application for the old refractory works would mark a huge change for life in the Loxley valley. If you have not yet commented, we would urge you to do so.

For details on HOW to do this, and WHY we think the new notices have gone up, please see our previous news post.

Do you want to know more about the planning application?

Developers Patrick Properties have proposed a township of up to 300 homes. We have summarised their plans, and our concerns, in an earlier news post on this website. You can also view the full planning application, and all associated documentation, on the Sheffield City Council website. The reference number for the planning application is 20/01301/OUT

Would you like to make your views known to the planners?

If you feel ready to make your views known to the planners, you can do so by posting a comment on the council’s website.

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Deadline for Loxley township comments is extended to 24th July

Deadline for Loxley township comments is extended to 24th July

GOOD NEWS: you now have more time to make your views known about the proposed new township in the heart of the Loxley valley.

You have until Friday 24th July to read the hundreds of pages of documentation and to make your views known to Sheffield City Council planners.

The council has now posted new notification notices around the valley.

We urged them to do this because we were extremely concerned that the original notification period was too short.

We wrote to the council saying that the original notification period did not meet legal requirements.

What are the legal requirements for a major development application?

The application for up to 300 homes on the old Hepworth refractory site is an application for major development.

This means the following legal stipulations apply:

  • The application must be accompanied by a Design and Access Statement (DAS). This must be submitted to the planning authority before the planning application can be validated and registered.
  • In this case, the application is accompanied by an Environmental Statement. This means people need more time to assess the documentation. So the ‘consulation period’ goes up from 21 days to 30 days.

The application from Patrick Properties was validated and registered before the DAS was submitted. The DAS appeared on the council website on 3rd June.

But the same website records the validation date as 23rd April.

The consultation period was also too short – 21 days rather than the 30 days for an application with an Environmental Statement.

We are pleased and relieved that the deadline has been extended.

The local community now have the time we need to properly assess the huge volume of documentation.

This includes a vitally important Ecology Report that was posted just four days ago on 22nd June.

How to make your views known

Any concerned person has the right to submit views to the planning department up to the date of the final decision, (i.e. the eventual meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee).

But your views will carry most weight if they reach the planning officer before the end of the new consultation period.

This is the date we refer to above, i.e. it ends on Friday 24th July.

Submission by this date means the planning officer must consider your views before preparing the report that they will submit to councillors.

If you have already submitted your views, you do have the right to post additional comments after reading the new documentation.

You can submit your views by posting them on the city council ‘planning portal’:

Many of you have told us that you have struggled to connect to the planning portal despite repeated attempts.

In this case, you also have the right to submit your comments by email, quoting planning application reference number 20/01301/OUT

This is the email address for comments: planningapps@sheffield.gov.uk

If you continue to have difficulties submitting your views, please let us know.

However you decide to do it, please do make your views known. Every local opinion counts!

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Rivelin Valley Conservation Group urges planners to reject the Loxley valley township

Rivelin Valley Conservation Group urges planners to reject the Loxley valley township

Our sister organisation in the Rivelin valley has condemned plans to build a township of up to 300 homes in the Loxley valley, and has urged city planners to reject them.

The Rivelin Valley Conservation Group (RVCG) has submitted a detailed objection setting out numerous breaches of national and local planning policies.

RVCG says the proposal for a huge housing estate on old factory sites below Damflask would seriously harm Sheffield’s Green Belt.

It says the site would be conspicuous from the Peak District National Park and would damage the appearance and character of local countryside.

The RVCG also warn of increased traffic congestion, underused public transport and an unsustainable load on local services.

RVCG summarise their main concerns as follows:

  • The development breaches the National Planning Policy Framework and Sheffield’s statutory development plan policies, particularly in respect of development in the Green Belt, Area of High Landscape Value and Area of Special Character, and impact on the neighbouring Peak District National Park.
  • Very special circumstances in respect of an immediate and urgent need to remove dereliction from the site or to release the land for housing have not been demonstrated.
  • The application site is in an unsustainable location because:
    • Of its transport and travel impacts, particularly in respect of car use for work and other travel needs and the inevitable increase in traffic congestion and pollution in the Malin Bridge and Hillsborough areas.
    • The impact on existing services and facilities which would not be provided in a development of this size e.g. adequate bus services,  school, medical and other community-based facilities and shops.
    • The adverse impact on the environment and informal rural recreation, including nature conservation, and the attractive and important rural character of the local and wider landscape of the Loxley valley.
  • The release of the site for housing would breach numerous local planning policies and would prejudice the city’s ability to protect the Green Belt in future policies.

You still have time to post your own objection

We are urging Sheffield City Council to extend the deadline for objections to the planning application.

This is because the applicant submitted numerous weighty documents towards the end of the consultation period.

We think people need time to read and assess these documents and have the opportunity to comment on them.

We think the planning application should not have been ‘validated’ and made public until all the legally required documentation was complete.

In the meantime, the city council’s ‘planning portal’ is still accepting comments.

If you have not yet made your views known, we would urge you to do so. The planning application reference number is 20/01301/OUT

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Peak District National Park Authority opposes plans for Loxley valley township

Peak District National Park Authority opposes plans for Loxley valley township

The Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) has objected strongly to plans for a new township of up to 300 homes in the heart of the Loxley valley.

Developers Patrick Properties want to build on the site of the abandoned old factories below Damflask, on the edge of the Peak District.

The PDNPA voices serious concerns about the impact on the national park.

These concerns include carbon footprint, air pollution, public health, unsustainable car journeys, possible tree felling and the impact on biodiversity.

The park authority says Sheffield City Council has failed in its duty to consult over the impact on the Peak District.

It also says Patrick Properties claim wrongly to have consulted the national park about their plans.

“The applicant’s Statement of Community Involvement document states … that there has been direct engagement with the National Park Authority on this application,” says the PDNPA.

“This isn’t the case, and gives us cause for concern”

The PDNPA’s detailed concerns

The national park authority sets out its fears in a 2,000 word statement of objection.

It’s key concerns are as follows:

  • It says the developers and the council have failed to recognise the potential impact on the national park, even though the township would border the park boundary.
  • The PDNPA says it is “surprised” that Sheffield City Council is prepared to consider only an outline planning application. It says this means too much is left vague, to be agreed later between the applicant and council officers. “We consider this unacceptable for such a significant development in the green belt”.
  • There is uncertainty about how many trees will be felled. “This is not acceptable for a greenbelt site where tree cover is an integral part of the character”.
  • The development would do little to reduce carbon. Rather, it would increase polluting car journeys, harming air quality and public health in an already congested area.
  • New residents would be too dependent on car journeys. They would then try to avoid the notorious Malin Bridge bottleneck. This would encourage rat runs on small country roads.
  • Sustainable alternatives such as cycling are unrealistic because of hills and distance from the city centre.
  • The impact on the green belt is not justified by shortage of housing land elsewhere in the city.
  • The development would be in a priority corridor for woodland and wildlife, and the developers have produced no evidence that biodiversity would be protected.

MPs, councillors and and other organisations are also objecting

The PDNPA’s concerns follow detailed objections from the Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake and from the Brightside and Hillsborough MP Gill Furniss.

Bradfield Parish Council are objecting too, as are local ward councillors in Stannington and Hillsborough.

Organisations objecting so far include CPRE South Yorkshire/Friends of the Peak District, the South Yorkshire Bat Group, Sheffield Friends of the Earth, Sheffield Climate Alliance, Sheffield Environmental, and the Walkley Green Party.

And at the time of writing, over 550 concerned local people have added their own objections. Thank you for your support! We’re so proud of our community!

You can object too!

If you share our concerns, please make your views known. Every single voice will make a difference!

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Deadline for Loxley valley township planning objections is now mid June

Deadline for Loxley valley township planning objections is now mid June

This planning notification on Long Lane (above) confirms that the deadline for comments to Sheffield City Council over the proposed Loxley valley township is now mid June.

The extended deadline follows correspondence between Friends of the Loxley Valley and the council’s planning department.

We were concerned that site notices were missing and neighbour notification letters had arrived late.

We understand the pressures facing planning officers as they try to work from home during lockdown.

But we also think it’s vital that local people have time to properly assess the 1400 pages of planning application documents.

We are pleased to say we had a constructive response. The deadline for comments has now been extended.

The new deadline is mid June

The planning notice in the photograph is dated 22nd May. It says clearly that comments on the planning application “must be received (by the council) within 25 days” of that date.

By our calculations this means the end of the ‘Standard Consulation Period’ is now Tuesday 16th June.

But we think it would be prudent not to leave things to the last minute. We suggest you submit your views no later than Monday 15th June.

How to make your views known

Any concerned person has the right to submit views to the planning department up to the date of the final decision, (i.e. the eventual meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee).

But your views will carry most weight if they reach the planning officer during the ‘Standard Consultation Period’.

This is the date we refer to above, i.e. it ends on Tuesday 16th June.

Submission by this date means the planning officer must consider your views before preparing the report that they will submit to councillors.

You can submit your views by posting them on the city council ‘planning portal’:

Many of you have told us that you have struggled to connect to the planning portal despite repeated attempts.

In this case, you also have the right to submit your comments by email, quoting planning application reference number 20/01301/OUT

This is the email address for comments: planningapps@sheffield.gov.uk

If you continue to have difficulties submitting your views, please let us know.

However you decide to do it, please do make your views known. Every local opinion counts!

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‘No to the Loxley Valley township!’ poster available for download

‘No to the Loxley Valley township!’ poster available for download

It’s taken a long time for any notices to be posted around the valley to let people know about the new planning application for up to 300 homes, so we’ve decided to produce our own!

The poster you see in this photograph is revived and re-versioned from 2005. That’s when Bovis Homes first proposed a major new housing complex in the valley bottom.

We’re still ploughing through the 1400 pages of planning application from Patrick Properties that have now been lodged with the city council in the middle of lockdown.

There’s little we can support in what we’ve read so far, so we feel we have no option but to urge the city council to reject the application.

The poster spells that message out in simple, clear terms that we hope will resonate around the valley.

How to download and use the poster

Please feel free to download the poster, to share it, put it in your window, pass it on to your friends and neighbours, put it on a local notice board. Anything that will get it seen and read!

All this will help to tell people about the planning application and to make their views known.

The links on the poster are active. So if you share it online people can click through  to our website and social media.

There’s also a QR code that people can scan from their phones if they see the poster around the valley. This will take them straight to our website where they can learn more.

The link below will take you to the poster.

Thank you again for your interest and for your support!

NB if you put up a poster in a public place, would you please then take responsibility for monitoring its condition, and for removing it when it is no longer needed?

Posters can very easily become litter, and we would not want that to happen to ours!

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