Council wins appeal to stop 300-home development

Sheffield City Council has won its case against Patrick Properties, which wanted to develop the former Loxley Works on Storrs Bridge Lane, in the Green Belt, for 300 homes.

An application was submitted by the developer in April 2020 but it was declined by the council’s planning committee, which said it would harm the Green Belt, was unsustainable and a threat to wildlife and biodiversity.

The developer appealed against the decision under a formal planning inquiry.

The Planning Inspector has now agreed with the council, that the development would cause substantial harm to the openness of the Green Belt and have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the site due to the urbanising effect of the proposed development and increased levels of activity.

He also concluded that insufficient evidence was presented by the developer to show the proposals would not result in unacceptable harm to the ecology and biodiversity of the site and its surroundings.

He agreed with the council that the site is not in a sustainable location, being remote from facilities and services and an unsuitable landscape on which to build homes.

The case is the one of the biggest planning inquiries the city has ever been involved in, with the original planning application receiving more than 1,000 objections from members of the public and local organisations and members.

Councillor Julie Grocutt, deputy leader at Sheffield City Council, said: “This is a very significant decision for such an important Green Belt site and one of the biggest planning inquiries we have ever seen in Sheffield.

“For many reasons we declined the original planning application, which had more than 1,000 objections, and we are pleased the planning inspector has recognised this and agrees with our decision.

“The site is not only an unsustainable location for housing, but a development of this kind would have threatened many protected species and habitats, thankfully they are now protected and can continue to thrive.

“This result is testament to the tireless efforts and hard work of our planning and ecology officers, along with our partners at the CPRE, Friends of Loxley Valley, and South Yorkshire Bat Group.

“It is a fine example of organisations working together for the benefit of the city, our natural environment and our shared ambitions for sustainability and conservation.

“We recently supported the declaration of a nature emergency in Sheffield, and this case demonstrates our commitment to upholding our responsibilities to reverse the decline we are seeing.

“It is a hugely important step towards not only protecting but enhancing and nurturing our natural species and habitats and I hope this sends a message about our requirements for future planning applications.”