Local people are determined to be heard

The Ecclesall area of Sheffield provides a good quality of life and a strong sense of community. However, the well-being of the area is currently under threat.

Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 2:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 2:21 pm

One by one the elements that make our community functional and harmonious are being dismantled. Undermining the elements that make a community functional leads to decline, crime, and alienation. This is a consequence of short-sighted policies promoted by national and local government.

Air quality is an increasing concern, local facilities are being closed down and green areas are gradually being built upon. The recent council plan for school expansion in the area is particularly devastating. Triggered by an apparent shortage of school places, a merger is proposed of the Ecclesall Infant and Junior schools, with a new school being built on the Ecclesall Infant School playground. The merger will mean a significant loss of net open space for the children of the two schools and an almost four-fold increase in the number of children using the infant grounds.

This will be unsustainable. An increase in traffic and parking problems will be inevitable, matched by a decrease in air quality and children road safety. Additionally, a much beloved green area will be eroded, changing the character of the area and detrimentally affecting wildlife. Yet, alternative options existed, which would have meant implementing smaller-scale projects with limited additional buildings. The consultation put in place by the council has been farcical – many residents still don’t know about the proposed development and the council has ignored voices of dissent from those who do. The health of a community relies on social cohesion and must be defended through dedication, work and an alert public. Local people are determined to make their voices heard.

Umberto Albarella