Anger at appeal hearing over Sheffield apartments plan

A public inquiry held at the United Reformed Church in Totley regarding proposals for new flats on Dore Road
A public inquiry held at the United Reformed Church in Totley regarding proposals for new flats on Dore Road
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A WAR of words broke out between planners and village residents at a public inquiry into a controversial planning decision.

Residents and councillors turned out in force to voice their opposition to Metropolitan Homes’ plan to build 14 apartments in Dore Road, Dore, at an appeal hearing into Sheffield Council’s refusal of the application.

The proposal was turned down in February on the grounds that it did not fit in with the character and appearance of the area, home to a row of Victorian villas.

Developers lodged an appeal which saw Ian Radcliffe, of the government’s Planning Inspectorate, chair a meeting at Dore and Totley United Reform Church to hear all sides of the argument.

Roland Bolton, director of consultancy DLP Planning Ltd, who represented the developers, defended the apartments’ design and attempted to present them as a solution to Sheffield’s housing shortage.

He said: “We feel that the design is one which would add character to the area. In the new National Planning Policy Framework, Eric Pickles says that planning decisions should not stifle innovation or initiative through unsubstantiated requirements. My view is that the architect has taken this on board.”

Stewart Greenslade, planning officer for Sheffield Council, said: “Developments are required to identify with local surroundings. The council has granted other permission for homes to be built on the site, it has not prevented residential development.”

Residents made impassioned pleas to Mr Radcliffe as he opened the hearing up to debate.

Coun Colin Ross said: “This is an outrageous proposal which goes against the core strategy to protect the area. It’s excessive and out of proportion with neighbouring developments.”

Dore Conservation Group member Paul Millington presented research which showed the planned building was around 6.65 times bigger than the average size of property in the area.

The public also highlighted flooding as a potential problem if the decision is overturned.

Adam Rose, owner of The Bike Tree shop in Abbeydale Road South, said: “I’m very opposed to this going forward without extensive improvements being carried out to sewage and water drainage. This isn’t an inconvenience I’m talking about, it’s a livelihood.”

Mr Radcliffe conducted a site visit after the hearing. He is expected to make a decision in around four weeks.