I attended the Town and Village Green Licensing Committee meeting on October 27, 2015. I represent a local company. I am a supporter of the motorway services scheme and I was also a witness who gave evidence in the public inquiry.
Whilst I understand and appreciate the inquiry process it seemed a shame that we even had to have an inquiry at all. The enquiry has cost both sides time and money and at times being distressing for those involved. I have always thought we should have focused on a constructive dialogue between those for and against the application as ultimately I believe the TVG application was driven out of concerns over the loss of some of the woodland by the proposed MSA development.
In my own mind it became quite clear in the inquiry that the MSA development and appropriate recreational opportunities can live side by side. The MSA will in fact enhance and protect the remaining woods way beyond anything we could hope to achieve without the MSA.
I do appreciate the arguments over the loss of a small area of ancient woodland.
That said, the poor condition of the woodland needs to be taken into account.
We have to recognise there is a very strong package of other strategic benefits, compensation and mitigation of woodland that will deliver benefits for decades to come and that are guaranteed by investment from the MSA.
Over the last 6 – 12 months Sheffield City Council can be proud that it has embraced the health and wellbeing agenda. I fully support efforts to promote our city’s drive to be The Outdoor City. The MSA proposals can only add to this. The MSA will give financial security in still difficult times. The investment will give the North East of Sheffield a new sustainable impetus focused on the protection and enjoyment of local woodlands.
The revised planning details were submitted earlier in October with a planning decision in early January.
I do hope that in considering the balance and weight of respective views that the wider benefits are acknowledged and that the community come together to embrace this opportunity. At the end of the day the MSA will bring investment, 700 jobs and 50 years of funding for the woodland across North East Sheffield.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be lost.
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Consultant, for Wardell Armstrong LLP