Redundant farms buildings in the north of Sheffield could become part of a camping and caravan complex in time for next summer’s Tour de France.
Support for landowner Mark Boulby’s £1m project in Grenoside has come from tourism agency Welcome To Yorkshire and 132 petitioners who believe it would provide “a massive boost to the local community”.
But there is also opposition on the basis of predicted noise, traffic problems and the impact on the environment.
The scheme involves creating 30 touring caravan pitches and a camping area for 50 tents at Little Intake Farm, with access from a track off Woodhead Road.
A barn would be turned into the site reception and office, a shed would become a children’s play area and a derelict building would be replaced by a shower and toilet block. It is also intended to create an outdoor play area. Ten jobs would be created.
Mr Boulby said existing camping and caravanning sites were concentrated in the south west of Sheffield and the Peak District and his ambitions were in line with the city’s attempts to become known as the UK’s ‘outdoor capital’.
He said he has already had a lot of inquiries. “I could fill it straight away.”
If permission is granted, the aim is to open the site ready for when the Tour de France passes nearby next July.
It could also be used by visitors to the Tramlines music festival and mountain bike champion Steve Peat’s races in Greno Woods, suggested Mr Boulby. “Sheffield is supposed to be trying to attract people to see what a good place it is. This is for people who want to enjoy the environment.”
He said the location was well screened by woodland, and the nearest house was over a mile away. It was already used for outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, and there was a path into the woods that could be used for horse-riding without riders having to go on to the road. It is also intended to offer walks around the woods and fields to display falconry.
Among supporters is Ian Crookes, landlord of the Old Red Lion in Grenoside, who has told the council that more visitors to the area would be “invaluable” to the survival of many local businesses and provide much needed employment.
The future of the proposed development is in the hands of the council. In principle, the green belt can be used for sport and leisure, but the authority will be checking implications such as traffic.
At present, the land can be used for camping up to 28 days a year without council approval.