Campaigners pledge 'not to give up the fight' on saving Sheffield green space from housing

Campaigners fighting to save green space from housing development have pledged “not to give up the fight” after withdrawing from a review of a planning inquiry decision due to a lack of funds.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 11:26 am

Avant Homes won an appeal against Sheffield Council’s refusal of an application to build 72 new homes on Moorthorpe Way, Owlthorpe, following a five-day public inquiry.

But Owlthorpe Fields Action Group, which fought to block the plans, said it aimed to raise £50,000 in six weeks for a statutory review of the appeal decision.

Last week, the group announced it was withdrawing this due to a lack of funds, and in an open letter asked Avant Homes to ‘recognise the harm they will bring if they proceed’ and to ‘think again, and draw back’.

Owlthorpe Fields

They said: “We are not giving up the fight. We hold our heads high knowing we do the right thing. In light of the catastrophic loss of biodiversity and climate change we have the moral high ground, and it behoves us to continue our fight. This is not just about Owlthorpe Fields, but a reflection of all life under threat on our planet. Even now at this late stage, we ask Avant Homes to recognise the harm they will bring if they proceed and invite them to think again, and draw back.”

It went on to say it was a “big ask” for the community to raise the £50,000 needed in just six weeks and in the midst of Covid-19.

The group said there are at least 850 species of wildlife recorded in the area. It has asked Sheffield Council to withdraw sites C and D of Owlthorpe Fields from development plans.

Avant Homes said the inquiry found any loss of biodiversity and trees would be ‘appropriately mitigated and compensated for’ and the development would create 'longer-term economic benefits.’A spokesman added: “We will continue liaising closely with Sheffield Council to ensure the preservation and conservation of woodland and wildlife surrounding the site, while also providing access to the adjacent green space for people to enjoy.”

They said work on the development was expected to start in August.