Plans for controversial Sheffield motorway services on hold

Members of the Woodland trust led a protest at Smithy Wood.
Members of the Woodland trust led a protest at Smithy Wood.
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A decision on controversial plans to build a new M1 service station on ancient Sheffield woodland has been put on hold.

The Highways Agency has issued a direction preventing council planners making a ruling on whether the plans for Smithy Wood, near Chapeltown, can go ahead.

Aerial view of Smithy Wood

Aerial view of Smithy Wood

It wants more time for discussions with developer Extra Motorway Service Area about how access to the proposed service station from Junction 35 of the motorway would work.

Developers are seeking to build the motorway services across 20 acres of land.

The order preventing a decision lasts until Saturday, December 13, but could be lifted at an earlier stage if the issues are ‘satisfactorily resolved’.

The Highways Agency said: “While the agency has no objection in principle to the creation of a motorway service area in this location, there is not yet an agreed arrangement for the revised junction that meets all the safety requirements.

“A road safety audit raised a number of issues that remain to be resolved.

“The agency is working with the developer and advisers to resolve the issues.”

Developers say about 450 jobs would be created during the construction phase, and up to 300 permanent jobs once the site opened.

However,thousands of people have signed a petition opposing the development, while hundreds of individual objections have also been submitted to Sheffield Council over concerns about the loss of the woodland.

The planning application was first submitted in March.