‘Get creative in green belt’

The former Dyson Ceramic Works on Baslow Road
The former Dyson Ceramic Works on Baslow Road

Environmental campaigners are urging a “creative” solution for the replacement of an industrial site in Sheffield’s green belt.

They are concerned that an expected option of housing on the site of the ceramics factory operated by the Dyson Group off Baslow Road, Totley, on the edge of the Peak District will lead to “increased urbanisation” of the countryside.

Already the campaign group, SPACE (Sheffield and Peak Against City Encroachment) has persuaded the council to remove lamp-posts leading to the bus terminus near Gillfield Wood in a protest against light pollution.

Now it is pressing for alternatives to housing to be considered for the Dyson site during a consultation process involving Dyson’s development partners, St Modwen.

“There is a real risk of urban encroachment into the countryside at the rural fringe of this marvellous city which prides itself on the value of its proximity to its much visited - and touristically valuable - countryside,” said spokesperson Sally Goldsmith.

She said the group was told by a Dyson’s representative at a public meeting that the development could be housing of a ‘Dales village type’. “This does not fill us with confidence. Housing here, even if it meets the above environmental criteria, would surely lead to pressure for infill of the rural fringe of the city.”

Whatever happens, the site should be cleaned up and managed to help the ecology and wildlife, said Sally.

SPACE’s ideas include a “sensitively designed” study area, visitor centre or moorland birds centre or something else to encourage environmentally conscious tourism, such as “a low rise, innovative eco-hotel of architectural distinction blending into the landscape and utilising all the emerging green technology”, possibly with some self-catering units.

The site could be used in line with Sheffield’s ambitions to the UK’s outdoor capital.