Action group formed as residents vow to fight plans for up to 500 homes on former farmland in Sheffield  

People living near Sheffield fields where 500 homes could be built have set up their own action group to fight against the proposals.

Sheffield Council announced last month it intended to sell almost eight acres of greenfield land at Moorthorpe Way, in Owlthorpe, Mosborough – known as Owlthorpe Fields.

Christine Rippon, second right, secretary of Owlthorpe Fields Action Group pictured with Shirley Clayton, holding Sheffield Council's plans.

Christine Rippon, second right, secretary of Owlthorpe Fields Action Group pictured with Shirley Clayton, holding Sheffield Council's plans.

The council’s sales brochure said the vacant plot, which lies close to the Donetsk Way Supertram stop, was understood to have been farmland but has been earmarked for housing development since the 60s.

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It described how planning policy recommends 40-60 dwellings per hectare, meaning between 314 and 471 homes could be built on the land surrounding Owlthorpe Surgery.

But those living near the site claim it is a ‘wildlife haven’ and have joined forces to create Owlthorpe Fields Action Group.

Land at Moorthorpe Way, in Owlthorpe, which is earmarked for housing and has been put up for sale by Sheffield Council.

Land at Moorthorpe Way, in Owlthorpe, which is earmarked for housing and has been put up for sale by Sheffield Council.

Christine Rippon, group secretary, said “Owlthorpe Fields is the only bit of green open space between densely populated parts of Mosborough Townships in our area.

“To stack in about 500 more houses here would be disastrous – it would impose major strains on traffic, public transport, schools, health provision and other facilities.

“It would ruin the area.”

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Ms Rippon said the group had handed out around 2,000 leaflets to people living in the area abotu the proposals.

Member Shirley Clayton, who lives next to Owlthorpe Fields, has also written to Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore claiming that ‘squeezing’ in a new housing estate would put ‘unacceptable pressure on the nearby road network’ as well as health and education services.

Ms Rippon added: “We’ve had overwhelming support on the doorstep and we’re planning a petition demanding the council stops this sale of this

land.”

Ken Crowder, of Owlthorpe Community Forum, claimed the original plan was to complete the Moorthorpe Way loop road so cars could access new homes off Sheffield Road rather than via Donetsk Way and Moss Way.

But the brochure stated the Highways Authority considers this was ‘not essential’ to enable development of the land in question.

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The plot is split into three segments and offers for the first section, measuring 3.35 hectares, along with any expressions of interest in the other two tranches, must be made by midday on November 2.

Sandra Fretwell-Smith, who also lives near the site, said she was concerned about the impact the development could have on wildlife in the fields.

She said: “Quite apart from all the pressure on neighbourhoods nearby, Owlthorpe Fields is an important and much-loved haven for wildlife. It needs protection, not development.”

The sales brochure stated: “It forms the first of a new phase of land to be released for housing development in Owlthorpe and presents an exciting opportunity for a high quality development, building on that already established by the nearby Woodland Heights development.”

It claimed Moorthorpe Way was built to serve a larger development but only the homes at Woodland Heights were completed, with the ‘over-designed’ roundabouts illustrating the ‘unrealised intention’ to provide more homes.

Mostly two-bed homes, with a smaller amount of three and four-bed properties, are recommended for the land, with 10 per cent required to be affordable housing and the remainder expected to be available for shared ownership.