Beware threats to ‘Greed Belt’ land

From: Sally Goldsmith

SPACE (Sheffield and Peak Against City Encroachment)

On your website, I was proud to see civic leaders celebrating England’s greenest city, Sheffield having gained a raft of green awards. However, readers should be aware of threats to this claim from both the Coalition Government and local developers in what I am beginning to call The Greed Belt.

Nationally, there are new proposals which seem to put economic arguments for housing development first, rather than balancing these with environmental concerns. The National Trust sees this as paving the way for urban sprawl unseen since the 1930s. Here in Sheffield, with some exceptions, we have been rather good at preserving our countryside and our Green Belt. The policy of putting brownfield sites forward for development instead has been quite successful – to be scrapped under the present proposals! Despite professing to protect Green Belts, ancient woods etc these new policies can only put more pressure on these in the longer term - and the vast swathes of lovely green landscape without this protection will be very very vulnerable indeed. The Government is asking for comments, so if you value Sheffield’s marvellous countryside, as well as countryside all over England, get writing to your MP!

Luckily, Sheffield seems to be better off than many local authorities, in that it has a Development Plan which gives us some protection.

Yet even here there are attempts by developers to compromise this and to move into the Green Belt. Here in Totley, the land is very attractive to developers for obvious reasons! Currently, there are attempts to build on land which was left out of the Green Belt (due to a mapping error) at the very edge of the city near the Peak Park boundary. The council is due to regularise the Green Belt here – but of course developers are attempting to build on some of the land before this is confirmed. Once one is given the go-ahead, others can only follow, pushing urban encroachment out ever further.

So please help to resist attempts to destroy these “concrete proposals” in the Golden Frame of our wonderful city.

From: John King

Planning officer, CPRE South Yorkshire

We were really heartened to see the article defending Sheffield’s Green Belt. Our green buffer zone is dear to the people of Sheffield. The Campaign to Protect Rural England has an 80 year legacy of campaigning to safeguard our countryside – and we were actually pivotal in getting Sheffield’s Green Belt created in the first place!

We wholeheartedly agree that the Government’s proposals to reform the planning system will put our precious Green Belt at risk. We urge people to get in touch with their MP to say no to the draft national planning policy framework – more information at www.cpresouthyorks.org.uk