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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