Dore to hold referendum on neighbourhood plan to reform planning process and protect green spaces
Electors in Dore will vote in a referendum on 12 August on a plan to which aims to protect the area from developments that are out of character.
Dore Neighbourhood Forum spent over five years developing a Neighbourhood Plan which will have significant influence on planning decisions in Dore if it is approved at the referendum.
The Steering Group which led the plan’s preparation said: “This was a really strong and determined community project for what is a distinctive neighbourhood lying between the ancient Ecclesall Woods and the setting of the Peak District National Park to reflect the special characteristics and needs of Dore in new planning policies.
"We seek a resounding YES vote to ensure that planners in the City Council and in the National Park are obliged to take account of our policies when they make planning decisions.”
Christopher Pennell, Chair of the Steering Group, said: “We are on the edge of developed Sheffield, next to us is a national park. We feel responsible that development in Dore isn’t threatening the national park.
“Dore in planning terms is almost full, there’s no brownfield sites.
“It’s anathema to us to develop in the green belt.
“When the Sheffield local plan emerges later this year we worry they might have contemplated building on the green belt.
"It should be the case that the setting of a national park should be protected in planning law and strictly speaking it isn’t.
“We established the principle that the setting of a national park should be protected.”
Christopher explained that previous planning applications had threatened the character of Dore.
He added: “One plan to build 20 houses on a greenfield site on the green belt off Long Line which runs to a boundary of a national park was controversial.
"Communities and cities should take more care to protect the setting of a national park, one of the great jewels on our doorstep.
“We welcome planning applications to make more modest homes.
“We need smaller houses. You could build four smaller homes instead of one bigger house, meeting a more specific need.”
Christopher believes that the plan for Dore will have significance across Sheffield.
He said: “I am hoping Dore will be a shining example of how a part of Sheffield can be sensibly developed in harmony with its surroundings, and in particular national parks.
“We are very conscious of that link that all Sheffield city supposedly cherishes. It needs to be protected for landscape beauty and biodiversity.
“Seven of our local green spaces have been designated protected local green spaces in the plan.
Christopher said that he was optimistic that the plan would pass in the referendum in August.
He added: “There has been a lot of support.
“One neighbourhood plan already exists in Sheffield, right in the heart of the city.”
This refers to the BBEST plan which was voted on in May this year.
Christopher said: “They were ahead of us by about 2 months or so. We are second.
“Sheffield has not has an experience of dealing with neighbourhood plans until the last five years.
“I think it’s been awkward. We were trouble for Sheffield council.
"Sheffield council planning has been really cut back, and experience is thin on the ground.”
"I don’t blame them, I blame government austerity.”