First Person: Why Sheffield school site needs to be revisited

The site in Carterknowle Road, Sheffield, where the council hopes to build Bannerdale School.
The site in Carterknowle Road, Sheffield, where the council hopes to build Bannerdale School.

Sheffield City Council has submitted a planning application for the development of a secondary school on the open land adjacent to the former Bannerdale Centre.

The geo-environmental report on the site makes worrying reading.

The site in Carterknowle Road, Sheffield, where the council hopes to build Bannerdale School.

The site in Carterknowle Road, Sheffield, where the council hopes to build Bannerdale School.

Given the site was formerly a refuse tip, this proposed development has the potential to pose a health and safety risk to both staff and children of the school, as well as the local community.

The report and risk assessment highlights that ‘elevated ground gases have been encountered at the site’.

These gases ‘present a high risk to construction and maintenance workers and future site users, and a moderate risk to off-site users including local residents’, the document continues.

Meanwhile, the ‘potential for significant harm to human health’ is also highlighted in the report and risk assessment.

And in addition, a report from the phase one investigations of the site in 2013 describes the site as ‘a high risk in the area formerly occupied by the refuse tip’.

“There should be assumed to be a high risk from off-site migration of ground gases from the refuse tip at this stage, both to new houses within a future development, and existing houses to the north,” it says.

Coupled with this, the 2013 Planning Design Brief for the whole site ruled out building houses on the part of the site now proposed for the secondary school because of the landfill.

So one could reasonably question the safety of developing a new school on the land.

It is with this in mind that one might ask why the site of the former Bannerdale Centre is not being considered by the council as an alternative?

This solution, identified by the Carter Knowle and Millhouses Community group and other residents some time ago, appears to have been ignored by the local authority in an attempt to secure the land for a housing developer.

But at what cost?

I would urge those who are concerned about this proposal to object to the application.

And I suggest the council revisits the site to reconsider the former Bannerdale Centre land as an alternative location for a school.

* We need a plan

* Education Column: Challenges and opportunities lie ahead for Bannerdale secondary