Green sites reprieved from Sheffield new homes plan

Planning map of Sheffield.
Planning map of Sheffield.

SOME greenfield sites earmarked for 1,100 new homes a year ago could be reprieved by Sheffield Council.

The authority held a consultation last year about whether to build on 18 areas of open space.

Suggested areas to be built on included playing fields, farmland and old reservoir sites being decommissioned.

Now a final list of sites is being prepared to be submitted to the Government next month for approval.

The homes are needed to help Sheffield make up its total of 35,000 new houses to be built between 2004 and 2026.

Not all 18 sites originally earmarked are likely to make the list.

David Caulfield, Sheffield Council’s head of planning, said: “We are still talking to councillors about which of the 18 sites will be included in our plans.

“We have listened very carefully to what local residents have told us during the consultation period last year, which attracted 700 responses.

“We have also looked at technical analysis of the sites to see if they are capable of being brought forward for development.”

Proposed green-field sites earmarked for new homes at Woodhouse and Worrall proved particularly controversial among surrounding residents.

In Worrall, new homes are planned for Worrall Hall Farm, off Kirk Edge Road and Top Road, and Wiggan Farm, Towngate Road.

Ann Whittaker, deputy chairman of Worrall Community Association, said: “There was a lot of public concern and when we held a public meeting about the plans at the Memorial Hall in the village, it was extremely well-attended.

“Many people responded to the council’s consultation process.”

Mrs Whittaker said that extra homes would cause pressure on transport, the sewage system and schools, which are ‘full’.

“We don’t feel we can cope with any more homes in the village and there would be great opposition to any new development here at all.”

She added that the only type of development she would find ‘personally acceptable’ was a small number of bungalows for elderly people, which would free some of the larger homes in Worrall for families.

Ray Battye, chairman of Worrall Environmental Group, said: “What people are concerned about is if those two sites are built upon, it will significantly alter the character of the village.

“You are talking about towards 100 homes on the sites together, and there are only 1,300 people who live in Worrall, so the number of extra residents could increase the village population by as much as one third.

“As well as the concerns about traffic and schools, there is a lack of shopping facilities.”

Among other sites planned for homes are fields at Woodhouse and former reservoirs in Crookes.

Old playing fields in Stannington and Norton are also earmarked.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet member responsible for business and development, Coun Leigh Bramall, said: ‘The Government has determined that we need more housing sites to meet people’s needs for homes and to support the economic growth of the city.

“We are currently consulting on plans to reallocate a limited number of green-field sites for housing usage.

“It is important to note that none of these is within the Green Belt of Sheffield, and around 90 per cent of these proposed developments would still be on brown-field sites.

“What will happen next is that the council’s cabinet will consider any revised proposals, before we submit them in February 2013, for the Government to consider.”

The council said it wants to identify its own suitable green-field sites so it is easier to reject speculative applications from developers hoping to build on green-belt land.

But whatever green-field sites are chosen, Sheffield’s overall housing target faces a later review to ‘reassess how much housing is needed in the city’.

Sheffield Council said the number of new homes being built has fallen below target due to the recession, with 20,325 homes still needing to be built.

Completions in 2010/11 were ‘significantly below’ required due to ‘wider economic conditions’.