Protesters opposing hugely controversial plans for new homes in Sheffield have complained about the ‘scandalous' wait for a decision to be made.
Plans to build up to 93 homes on former grazing land beside Royd Farm, between Bolsterstone and Deepcar, were submitted to Sheffield Council last November.
The council’s planning department was inundated with more than 400 objections, with campaigners claiming that building on the protected ‘open space’ would ruin views, threaten wildlife habitats and cause traffic misery.
But 10 months later, and nine months since the application was validated, the long wait for the outcome to be determined continues - with no date yet scheduled for councillors to decide its fate.
That is despite government guidance stating that major applications should be decided within 13 weeks of their validation and within 26 weeks at most to comply with what it calls the ‘planning guarantee'.
The Upper Don Action Group (UDAG), which opposes the proposals, says the target date for a decision was originally set at March 16 before being pushed back to April 13, since when no target date has been given.
John Hesketh, who chairs the community group, said members were growing increasingly frustrated by the delay.
“It is astonishing that this planning application has yet to be decided after all this time – and at UDAG we understand that there is not even a date pencilled in for this matter to go before the planning committee I used to chair.
“Planning applications are meant to be decided in about 13 weeks. Everyone understands that the Royd Farm ‘village’ proposal would be complex and perhaps a few weeks slippage might be acceptable.
“However, it is now NINE months since this planning application was submitted and all signs are that it will not be taken until October or November.
“It is scandalous that householders in Bolsterstone and Deepcar have been forced to wait for months on end for a decision that will profoundly affect their lives.”
The application was submitted by Hallam Land Management, the planning arm of construction firm Henry Boot.
It claimed the new homes would help fill the city’s huge housing shortfall and would occupy less than half the 16-acre greenfield site at the corner of Carr Road and Hollin Busk Lane, with the rest remaining open to the public.
It has not responded to The Star’s enquiry about the wait for a decision to be made.
Sheffield Council said there were a number of ‘outstanding issues’ to resolve before the application could be determined, including the completion of a Habitat Regulations Assessment.
The council did not say why this assessment had taken so long to carry out but insisted there was no backlog within its planning department.