Controversy over £10 million green belt homes plan in Sheffield

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Proposals for a £10 million development of almost 90 homes in Sheffield’s rural green belt are proving controversial - with residents, countryside campaigners and the local parish council all lining up in opposition.

Detailed plans have been submitted to Sheffield Council seeking approval to demolish the former Dyson Refractories ceramics factory on Stopes Road, Stannington, and build 88 properties.

Housebuilder Ben Bailey Homes, which is behind the scheme, says the development is ‘both high quality and sustainable’, and will regenerate ‘run-down, unsightly, previously developed land’.

But the Campaign for Rural England has branded the plans a ‘quick-fix market housing scheme that re-ignites suburban sprawl’.

Several residents have also objected, along with Bradfield Parish Council.

The site lies a mile away from the Peak District, and is one of two former Dyson works in Sheffield up for redevelopment. The other is off Baslow Road, Totley.

Because the sites have already been developed, some form of replacement can be accepted in principle under green belt rules.

Two, three, four and five bedroom properties are proposed under the Stannington plans, along with an area of open space in which part of the factory chimney would be kept standing.

The cost of construction works would total £10 million, and nearly 70 jobs would be created to build the homes, says Ben Bailey Homes.

However, Stephen Wood, the director of a service for adults with learning disabilities based at nearby Wood Lane Countryside Centre, said: “I believe there are sufficient opportunities to build new housing in parts of Stannington that are not in the green belt, and these should be used before we lose more of the lovely countryside around Sheffield.

“We should let the land go back to being green fields.”

Mr Wood said he was worried about traffic congestion, adding: “If we had a significant increase in the number of vehicles coming in and out of the area due to 80 plus new households then I would seriously consider relocating my business.”

And resident Simon Poulter, who lives on Stopes Road, said 88 homes was ‘far too many’.

“We did always anticipate a select development of 10/15 houses might be erected, and we believe that would be more acceptable - but more than likely not profitable for a developer,” said Mr Poulter.

In its objection, Bradfield Parish Council said local schools and doctors’ surgeries were ‘at capacity’, trees would be lost to make way for the houses and the plans ‘appear to be out of context’ with information given out at consultation events.

Andrew Wood, planning officer for CPRE South Yorkshire, said the organisation met the developer last year and explained its concerns.

“This is, without doubt, the wrong development for the site. An abandoned site in a prominent rural landscape presents a range of positive opportunities, which may be more costly but are infinitely preferable to a quick-fix market housing scheme that re-ignites suburban sprawl.

“This might include specifically rural uses, including food, recreation and nature, for example, with an emphasis on sustainable design and construction, and community involvement in the scheme.

“But any future buildings should be interesting and with strong, bespoke architecture, specific to the location.”

A report will be prepared by council officers before a decision is reached at a planning meeting later this year.