New homes plan for Sheffield factory site raises green belt concerns

The former Griffs Works in Stannington.
The former Griffs Works in Stannington.

Fresh plans to put housing up on the site of a former ceramics factory have again been met with opposition due to the site’s location in the green belt.

Avant Homes has applied to build 62 houses on land that was once home to Dyson Industries in a now-abandoned building known as Griffs Works.

The industrial land is within the green belt.

The industrial land is within the green belt.

In January 2016 Sheffield Council approved a £10 million plan from Avant Homes – formerly known as Ben Bailey Homes – to put up 88 houses on the site in Stopes Road, Stannington.

The plans attracted fierce opposition. More than 300 people signed a petition against the development, and there were about 70 individual objections. Most said the housing estate was inappropriate given its location within the green belt – although the site itself is classed as brownfield due to its industrial past, and is therefore viewed as acceptable for redevelopment.

Avant then caused a further stir when it asked the council to remove a planning condition requiring it to pay £1.8m towards affordable housing in the area.

The firm then withdrew its request, saying it had ‘misjudged’ the situation.

How the new development could look.

How the new development could look.

And it has now come back with new plans to build fewer homes – 62 – on the former factory site.

Avant declined to comment on the latest plans, which include an affordable housing contribution of £840,000.

But according to the application, drawn up by Oasis Urban Design, said the lower number of houses offered ‘improved viability’.

The building on site are ‘deteriorating’ since the closure of the factory in 2005, according to the application, and ‘detract from the character and appearance of the area’.

But several people have already objected, citing the same concerns about development within the green belt.

Jon Boden, of Storrs Green, said the housing would be ‘wildly at odds with the rural nature of the valley’.

He added: “The facade designs are urban, modernist and eccentrically coloured.

“The stye of the nearby Acorn estate is much more sympathetic with the area – a more simple, unfussy and vernacular design should be specified if the development is to go ahead.”

Linda Hawkes, of Riggs Low Road, said: “We think that 60-plus dwellings are far too many for this small development area and that the design is totally out of character with all surrounding houses and farms.”

Rivelin Valley Conservation Group said the estate would be ‘urban’ and inappropriate on a site which was ‘remote from the urban area of Stannington’.

And Andrew Wood, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "It remains our view that a volume housebuilder solution is not appropriate to this sensitive location, and that the brownfield status of the site does not override the need for the proposal to demonstrate very special circumstances for developing in the green belt."

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