Two new fire stations are to be built on green belt land to speed up response times to emergencies in the south-east of Sheffield.
The council’s planning committee gave the green light to the new bases on Sheffield Parkway and in Moor Valley - despite strong protests from residents who objected to the loss of green space.
The developments have got the go-ahead subject to approval from the Secretary of State.
Planning officers said the recommendation to approve the developments on green belt land was made due to ‘very special circumstances.’
Lucy Bond from the planning department said at the meeting this afternoon: “Obviously this is a very important decision. It’s a development in the green belt which is contrary to adopted policy.
“There’s no denying that the Parkway development will have an impact on the adjoining woodland. It is not a recommendation we have made lightly.”
The Parkway station is to be built on land close to Bowden Wood and the Birley Moor station will be sited at the junction of Moor Valley and Birley Lane. They are designed to replace Mansfield Road, Darnall and Mosborough stations, which are considered to be past their best.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mark Shaw, who spoke in favour of the plans, said: “The Chief Fire Officer is committed to providing the best possible emergency services.
“We have to make sure we have the right resources, in the right place, at the right time.
“We respect the fact that this is in the green belt and we will work with planners to ensure we have the least impact on the area as possible.”
Labour Coun Peter Price said: “The emergency services are important to the people of Sheffield. There are fire stations in the Peak District and the Lake District - they have to have fire stations where people live.
“It’s a tragedy that we are faced with this option but when it comes to people’s lives, we don’t have any choice.”
But Lib Dem Coun Bob McCann said: “I’m not completely convinced by the idea put forward by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue that this is the only suitable position. There are other positions on industrial estates I’m quite convinced could be utilised.
“We have a green belt site here. Green belt sites are under threat. I’m not willing or able to support this position.”
Both planning applications were granted. Two councillors voted against.