MP backs battle to protect green fields

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ALTERNATIVE sites for developing extra houses have been suggested by a Sheffield MP – after protests about plans to build on green fields.

Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, has written to Sheffield Council after receiving concerns from constituents about plans to build up to 200 new homes on fields off Beighton Road.

The site is one of 18 green and open areas earmarked by the council for new homes, as part of plans to create 35,000 more properties by 2026.

Officials say not enough brown-field land is suitable, so land including disused playing fields and some farms which are not green belt are being considered.

Consultation with nearby residents ends on Monday.

Mr Betts got in touch with the council after being contacted by constituents, including members of Shire Brook Conservation Group.

Group member Richard Pearson said: “There should be a review of the green belt to include new sites, including the fields in Woodhouse.

“Once this open space is gone, there is no going back.

“There are other places houses could be built.”

Kevin Hill, group chairman, has called for a review of Sheffield’s green belt.

He believes some areas not included should be and others which are should not be.

He also called for new homes to be evenly spaced around the city rather than taking ‘scarce’ agricultural land on the eastern side – about 200 of the 600 homes to be built on open space are earmarked for sites in Woodhouse.

Mr Betts said: “I am concerned about this rationale to allocate more green fields because, given the choice, developers will leave brown-field sites on one side.”

Mr Betts said he ‘accepts’ the need to provide more sites, but said alternatives could be considered, including the former Shirebrook School playing fields.

David Caulfield, council head of planning, said he would take the comments into account.