Petitioners urge council to throw out Sheffield housing plan

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Protesters opposing a £10 million proposal to build almost 90 homes in Sheffield’s green belt are turning up the heat as the campaign grows.

Developers want to demolish the former Dyson Refractories ceramics factory on Stopes Road, Stannington, and build 88 properties.

Because the site has already been built on, some form of replacement can be accepted in principle under green belt rules.

But members of Sheffield Council’s planning committee are coming under increased pressure to refuse the application.

A petition with more than 300 signatures has been handed in at the Town Hall, while nearly 60 people have made individual representations to the council, many of whom object to the scheme.

Those who have signed the petition argue that the area is already plagued with too much traffic, causing congestion and safety issues, and that there are too many vehicles at peak periods in particular.

Schools and doctors surgeries’ are ‘already full and not enough for the current volume of residents’, the petition says, adding: “More demand would be unbearable.”

The homes would also be an ‘overdevelopment’ of the site and would spoil an area of outstanding natural beauty, petitioners say.

“A new village in between Stannington and Dungworth is a massive overdevelopment. It would ruin the green belt and blight the landscape,” they argue.

Housebuilder Ben Bailey Homes, which is behind the plans, says the scheme is ‘both high quality and sustainable’, and will regenerate ‘run-down, unsightly, previously developed land’.

Two, three, four and five bedroom properties are proposed.

There is also an area of open space in which part of the factory chimney would be kept standing.

The cost of construction would be £10 million, and nearly 70 jobs would be created to build the homes, says the Ben Bailey firm.

One of the most recent objectors, resident Gillian Crownshaw, said she thought the plans would be of ‘great detriment to the area’.

“The area simply cannot sustain a higher population and more vehicle pressure,” said Ms Crownshaw.

“I do not feel the plans are at all sympathetic to the villages of Stannington or Dungworth.”

However, in its statement to planning officers Ben Bailey said the scheme will be ‘successful and appropriate’.

“The Government’s position is clear,” the company said.

“There is strong and consistent support for green belt principles and protecting the openness of green belt land, while recognising that previously developed land there represents a potential resource for development.

“The general stance is one of protection, and allowing development in certain limited circumstances. Such circumstances apply to the current application site.”

Another former Dyson site, off Baslow Road, Totley, is also earmarked for development. Regeneration specialists are considering a number of options, including housing, for the land close to the Peak District.

A report will be prepared by council officers, who will make a recommendation as to whether to approve the scheme before planning committee members make a decision.