Letters: Driving the country headlong into gridlock

I'd been wondering how long it would be once the cold weather kicked in for people to start complaining about the resurfaced pedestrian footpaths becoming dangerously slippery surfaces due to the smoothness of the seemingly non-porous finish; thereby making ideal conditions for pavements to be turned into ice rinks. (Telegraph, February 8).

Tuesday, 13th February 2018, 4:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th February 2018, 4:55 pm

A foreseeable safety hazard, one would have thought, and therefore capable of prevention.

This begs the question why such preventive precautions were not taken as part of the resurfacing process.

However, the situation is exacerbated quite markedly by the increasing tendency on the part of mainly car/vehicle owners, to construct dropped kerbs and inclined access runs across the direction of the pavement, to enable them to get their cars onto their drives more easily.

You would assume that they would require planning permission to do this in the first place.

This may be all well and good for the motorists concerned, but it nevertheless does leave pedestrians to negotiate their way along a pavement with repeated areas of footpath sloping sideways against the direction of walk; while quite often having to negotiate an uphill/downhill slope at the same time into the bargain.

A dodgy situation at the best of times even for the fairly agile and therefore presumably much worse for those not so; but quite difficult and dangerous in conditions of ice and snow.

This leaves pedestrians with the option of using the road instead, thus subjecting themselves to dangers from traffic that pedestrian footpaths were supposed to prevent in the first place, by keeping vehicles and pedestrians apart.

Hence it seems that being a pedestrian is nowadays becoming increasingly akin to playing Russian roulette with one’s physical safety.

While I realise that the construction of off-road parking facilities and access to them is supposed to reduce congestion due to parking on both sides of streets, multi-vehicle households are becoming increasingly common and hence one finds that the street is still used for parking as the limited off- road space becomes filled.

Sometimes the streets are used for parking large industrial type of vans/lorries, for example, which one assumes are used for commuting to and from work, thus saving travelling time and expense for the user; who leaves the family vehicles parked at home.

Hence, the encouragement of off-road parking space development is not tending to free up roadways as intended.

Neither is it doing anything to save green spaces, grass verges and pavements, that motorists increasingly see as legitimate parking lots regardless of damage done and inconvenience and danger caused to others.

Is it not becoming obvious that the fundamental problem is born of there being too many vehicles for the available road space (especially within towns and cities) to cope with?

Ways and means must be found to restrict the number of vehicles in circulation – the sooner the better – rather than allowing more and more to simply add to the problem.

Or is it to be a case of continuing to shoot the messenger that brings bad news as motorists drive the country headlong into gridlock?

Michael Parker

Deepcar

Demonstrate the strength of opposition

Last week, Michael Parker queried the local campaign in Stocksbridge and Deepcar attempting to prevent the development of 93 dwellings on land designated as protected open space in both Council’s Unitary Development Plan and Core Strategy 72.

While this land is designated as protected open space it is owned by a number of individual landowners. Individual landowners stand to make substantial amounts of money from the sale of the land and the applicants, Hallam Land Management, stand to make significant gains by acquiring outline planning permission and then selling on this land to a developer.

The council received the planning application 17/04673/OUT and is required to consider it and make a decision through the planning process.

We have every confidence in that process and we expect this planning application to be turned down when it is considered – because of Sheffield’s policies in relation to this land.

However, if the application is turned down the applicants may decide to appeal to the National Planning Inspectorate.

The National Planning Policy Framework requires each Local Planning Authority to submit a Local Plan showing its intentions and plans to provide sufficient land for the projected number of required homes over a five-year period.

Sheffield City Council has yet to agree and submit this Local Plan and continues to make planning decisions based on existing policies as outlined in the Adopted Local Plan and in the 2013 Draft Proposals Map.

Because of this, the applicant is claiming that Sheffield’s Core Planning Policies are out of date and can only attract limited weight in the planning decision-making process.

If this planning application goes to appeal it is important to demonstrate to the Planning Inspector the strength of local opposition to development on this highly valued visual community asset of protected open space.

There are now more than 500 objections on the Planning website to support local opposition.

The key theme of the Government Housing White Paper (February 17) was “The right homes in the right places” and that was described as promoting building on previously developed brown field sites (up to 1,000 homes approved in the Upper Don Valley) and reaffirms strong protection for valued open countryside.

Elaine Smith

Friends of Hollin Busk