Residents fear plans for a new fire station on green belt land in Sheffield will blight a community ‘asset’.
Householders living near South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service’s site for the station on land off Bowden Wood roundabout, Handsworth, say they will object to the proposals when an application is submitted.
Retired electrician David Williams, of Clifton Crescent, said: “The site has been described as an industrial waste site when it has never been that – it is green belt land.
“A few years back when the roads were being refurbished it was a base for the contractor to operate from, but that was it.
“At that time we asked what would happen to the land and were told it would revert to what it was.
“I want to see it stay as green belt because people use it a lot, for walking their dogs and so on. It’s one of the few assets in this area.”
The fire service plans to build two new fire stations – including another in Birley to replace ageing sites in Darnall, Mosborough and Mansfield Road.
Fire chiefs say the change will mean stations are better placed to respond to emergencies and more cost effective.
A brigade spokesman said the Handsworth plans would solely affect an area of ‘wasteland’ on the edge of Bowden Housteads woods and not woodland itself .
David, aged 67, said he believed the old Darnall site would be used for housing.
He said: “The pressure of housing need is chipping away at the green belt. It will set a precedent.”
Sheila O’Brien, of Bowden Wood Crescent, said: “We’ve lived here 20 years and this has always been a green belt site, never industrial. I think it is terrible if the site is built on.
“It’s not because it is on our doorstep, if it was up the road a little bit fair enough, but this is a green belt area and it’s just not on.”
Proposals for the station in Handsworth say its location would ‘enable vehicles to easily access both the south and east of the city as well as the city centre’ and the building had been designed to fit into its setting.
The brigade spokesman said: “This is green belt land and, as with any other planning applicant, we have to make a special case to develop this site.
“It is in the optimum position to enable us to provide the best possible emergency response service to the east side of Sheffield.
“We met dozens of local people during the consultation events last week and the feedback has been almost entirely positive.
“We aim to submit our planning application next month.”