Action to allay housing concerns in Sheffield

Coun Bryan Lodge,'cabinet member for finance, Sheffield Council
Coun Bryan Lodge,'cabinet member for finance, Sheffield Council
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Residents in Sheffield are being involved in a scheme to ensure housing developments on old school sites fit with surrounding communities.

Sheffield Council is trying to make the planning process easier for redeveloping vacant land it owns – making sites more attractive for housebuilders.

Coun Bryan Lodge, council cabinet member for finance, said the approach has been used at the site of Dore’s King Ecgbert School, which has moved to new buildings, and the old Abbeydale Grange School, which has closed.

Dozens of homes could be built at each site in a multi-million-pound scheme.

Coun Lodge said: “We have been working with Dore Village Society to consider how best to redevelop the old King Ecgbert site, and the residents’ group in Millhouses and Carter Knowle in respect of the Abbeydale Grange site.

“The aim is to ensure residents’ concerns about number of houses proposed, along with issues such as parking and access to the sites, are resolved before a planning application is proposed.”

The council is set to use the approach for other sites it owns when they are sold to developers in the future.

Coun Lodge said, in most cases, land would be used for housing.

He said problems with objections from neighbouring residents to planning applications can be off-putting and cause expensive complications.

Coun Lodge said: “Sorting out likely difficulties before plans are drawn up makes sense, meaning developments can go ahead as easily and smoothly as possible.”

He said a specific planning application has not yet been submitted for the King Ecgbert School site, while proposals are being developed for the Abbeydale Grange site.

He said the council was creating a range of ideas to help attract developers in the wake of years of stalled projects.

Housebuilding is a high priority due to a shortage of family homes which has sent prices soaring.