Fresh row over Sheffield college homes plan

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

DEVELOPERS have run into opposition over their latest application concerning the site of the former Loxley College in Sheffield’s green belt.

Objections have been lodged in response to a request from Ben Bailey Homes to drop the requirement to build affordable homes as part of a proposed estate off Wood Lane. Critics say that if council permission was granted, it would make it harder for people struggling to find suitable accommodation.

Already Ben Bailey Homes and Sheffield College have been given council go-ahead in principle for 69 homes on the land, which became available when the college relocated to Hillsborough. One of the conditions was to ensure some of the properties would be available at below market value.

Now agents for the developers have submitted evidence to the council to show that the scheme “cannot viably provide any affordable housing”.

The council has asked the District Valuer to assess whether the Loxley College scheme is viable with affordable housing.

But Andrew Wood, planning officer for the South Yorkshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said it was council policy that all developments of 15 homes or more should include 30% to 40% affordable homes. “Yet the developer has now applied for permission to remove this requirement and to sell all the houses at full price.

“There are very few opportunities to build affordable homes on this side of Sheffield, and so to miss a chance to create about 25 homes for people struggling to afford suitable accommodation would be very disappointing for the local community.”

In a letter to the council, Jan Symington, of Loxley Valley Protection Society, says: “In the current economic climate, (if building is a way to kick start the economy), there needs to be some housing priced at a level which first time buyers can afford.”

Stannington Tenants and Residents Association says: “There are already more private properties than are required and not enough affordable homes to let in the area.”

Bradfield Parish Council says: “Affordable housing is more important than ever in the current social climate.”

However, some local residents are backing the application, although they remain concerned about the traffic implications of the proposed housing estate, especially for Malin Bridge.