Publish controversial plan” say Sheffield Lib Dems

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed has called on the council to publish its Local Plan
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed has called on the council to publish its Local Plan

A blueprint which details how Sheffield will be developed over the coming years must be published without further delay, say the Liberal Democrats.

The long-awaited Local Plan is a framework for how Sheffield will be developed over the next 15 years. Crucially, it may alter the city’s Green Belt areas and open up more land for housing.

The council says it’s a “huge piece of work” but the Liberal Democrats claim the continued delay could cause problems with planning applications.

The Leader of Sheffield Lib Dems, Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, said: “This Plan is controversial but we have to publish it.

“This was earmarked for the July Cabinet meeting and just before the papers were released we were told it was not going to appear. We were then told it was going to be an individual Cabinet member’s decision.

“Officers have done all their work, we are now waiting for Council Leader Julie Dore to okay this.

“My fear is that these delays mean the Government will come in and impose a plan and then we will not have any local input. Development could take place across swathes of the city where we don’t want it.

“The longer it sits on Julie Dore’s desk, the longer developers can propose to build where we don’t want it.”

Labour said once finished, the plan would go out to public consultation. Coun Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Development, said: “The decisions we take now will have a big role in shaping the city for the future. This is a huge piece of work.

“We are still working on developing the plan and it is important that we get the right policies and proposals in place before it is moved forward for consultation.

“The legislation about favouring developers is bad national legislation and was brought in by the coalition government which the Lib Dems were a part of and the Lib Dem record on housing is much more in favour of lining the pockets of developers than building the homes the people of Sheffield need.

“The Lib Dems have continued to scaremonger about the Local Plan without putting forward a single constructive idea to move it forward. The Lib Dems have no ideas, no vision and no policies for the future of Sheffield.

“They continue to try to blame the council for the damage done by the previous coalition government, whether its cruel cuts to the council or bad changes to planning rules.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said councils must review their plans at least once every five years and Sheffield last adopted its in 2009.

A spokesman said: “We are working with Sheffield Council as they update their Local Plan.

Ultimately, we have powers to intervene where authorities fail to produce one.”