Leader’s vow in battle over playing fields

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SHEFFIELD Council leader Coun Julie Dore has reiterated her support for a campaign to protect playing fields threatened by a new link road - after the development was endorsed as an ‘immediate priority’ by a board on which she sits.

James Newman, chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership which represents councils and businesses in Sheffield and the surrounding area, has written to Greg Clark, the Government’s cities minister, calling for investment in infrastructure projects to help the economy.

Among the schemes which the LEP views as priorities is the Waverley Link Road, between the planned new Waverley development on former opencast land, and Woodhouse Mill.

But the scheme has caused controversy because Rotherham Council is proposing a route across playing fields at Woodhouse Mill, which Sheffield Council own.

Both Coun Dore’s current Labour council and the previous Lib Dem administration opposed building on the fields.

Coun Ian Auckland, opposition Lib Dem shadow cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “The only viable route of this road is across Woodhouse Mill Playing Fields, so local people in Sheffield and Rotherham need a clear explanation of what exactly is going on.

“Public money and public time is being spent on a project which should be a clear non-starter.

“Until this is stopped I’m very doubtful about public assurances that ultimately the fields will be protected.

“We are calling on the council to ensure this green space is protected.”

Coun Julie Dore, who sits on the LEP as council leader, said: “Sheffield Council resolves to continue to support the Waverley development.

“However, it is the council’s firm view that we cannot support the plans to build a road through Woodhouse Mill playing fields.”