Two new fire stations are set to be built on Sheffield’s green belt, despite environmental protests.
Councillors decided on Tuesday that the importance of developing sites for the fire service next to Bowden Houstead Woods off the Sheffield Parkway, near Handsworth, and off Moor Valley and Birley Lane outweighed the concerns.
The verdict awaits confirmation by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles because of the implications for the green belt.
Protesters had argued that brownfield locations should be used for the fire stations, which are designed to replace outdated premises in Mansfield Road, Darnall and Mosborough. There were particular objections that the site next to Bowden Houstead Woods was being dismissed as scrubland when, it was argued, it offered valuable recreation space.
But councillors followed the advice of their officers and the fire service, which said these were the two best places to respond to emergencies in the south east of Sheffield.
Coun Peter Price said: “The emergency services are important to the people of Sheffield. There are fire stations in the Peak District and the Lake District – they have to have fire stations where people live. It’s a tragedy that we are faced with this option but, when it comes to people’s lives, we don’t have any choice.”