SMITHY WOOD: Community woodlands plan to compensate for loss

Andrew Long, Chief Executive of Extra MSA who want to build a motorway service area at Jcn 35 on the M1 at Smithy Wood Picture Dean Atkins
Andrew Long, Chief Executive of Extra MSA who want to build a motorway service area at Jcn 35 on the M1 at Smithy Wood Picture Dean Atkins
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Lose 16.28 acres of “low quality” ancient woods and gain 600 acres of community woodland. That’s what the firm bidding to build a service station at Junction 35 of the M1 is offering.

Extra MSA is promising to stump up £2.13m to create ‘Chapeltown Community Woodlands’ by merging and restoring Smithy, Hesley, Parkin and Thorncliffe woods, which stretch almost to Junction 37 at Tankersley. A ranger would be hired to tackle off-road motorbikes and 4x4s and reverse “decades of decline.”

And the firm would launch a 50-year management plan funded with £200,000-a-year from service station tenants.

The company already controls the land, which has a patchwork of owners including Ronseal, St Paul’s Developments, Sheffield Council and The Scouts.

If approved, the new service station could be open by mid 2017.

Extra MSA is set to submit additional information, to back up its planning application, in October.

The public will be asked to respond to Sheffield City Council before officers write a report for councillors.

A decision is expected at a planning committee meeting on January 16.

If approved, construction would start six months later and last up to 18 months.