Further delay on Smithy Wood M1 service station decision

Plans for an M1 service station at Smithy Wood have stirred up controversy
Plans for an M1 service station at Smithy Wood have stirred up controversy
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A long-delayed decision on the potential creation of a new motorway service station on ancient woodland has been postponed yet again.

Sheffield Council is now aiming to decide whether to give the go-ahead to the new £46m Extra service station for the M1 at Smithy Wood near Chapeltown in June.

The controversial application was originally submitted in March 2014 and has attracted thousands of objections. It had originally been intended the council’s planning committee would make a ruling by October 2014.

Eleanor Ridge, from the council’s development management department, had written to the Pegasus Group, who are acting on behalf of Extra, to ask for the organisation to agree to a new determination deadline of June 10, with its final submissions to be made by April 8.

She said further time is needed to deal with outstanding matters around the ‘complex application’.

But the applicant has responded by asking for extra time, agreeing to a decision not being made before June 30.

Andrew Long, chief executive of Extra, has previously said the new service station at Junction 35 of the M1 would create around 300 jobs, while 60,000 trees would be planted to outweigh the loss of ‘low quality’ ancient woods.

The application is opposed by groups including The Woodland Trust, who say it would be ‘incomprehensible’ to allow a motorway service station to be built on top of a centuries-old habitat.