A new fire station will starve part of Sheffield of scarce green space, campaigners have warned.
Hundreds of residents are fighting proposals to build on green belt land close to Bowden Wood – an idea expected to be approved at a planning meeting today.
The Parkway station, which is one of two new-builds designed to replace Mansfield Road, Darnall and Mosborough, has been criticised for destroying ancient woodland.
But Sheffield Council planning report cites ‘very special circumstances’ in its recommendation for approval.
Case officer Adam Chapman said: “Inappropriate development in the green belt is by definition and should not be approved except in very special circumstances.
“Improvements to the fast and efficient fire service response and coverage to the people of Sheffield in this case constitute them, which outweigh any harm from developing this site.”
Local resident Dave Williams is set to speak out in opposition to the plan on behalf of the community today.
Mr Williams, of Handsworth, said: “The report refers to it as old industrial land, disused.
“This is misinformation.
“We’re hardly the most salubrious part of Sheffield as it is. It’s another thing being taken away. This piece of land is very much valued. A lot of people are very upset about this.
“There are loads of brownfield sites in Sheffield where it should have been built instead.
“I think the council just wants to put it here because it thinks we won’t put up a fight.”
The new station includes a training yard, tower and new access road next to the junction of Sheffield Parkway and Mosborough Parkway.
If plans are given the green light, the station will be operational from the middle of next year.
The junction of Moor Valley and Birley Lane has been earmarked for the second Birley Moor fire station, still subject to public consultation.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service reiterated the need to modernise its fire response.
Chief officer Tom Courtney said: “It’s all about how quickly we can get to the incident, and seconds count.
“The old stations date back to the 1950s and ’60s and were provided for a risk that no longer exists because the risk has moved.”
n Visit thestar.co.uk this afternoon for news on the decision.