Council chief insists open space will be kept in £100m Sheffield housing plan

A council chief has insisted ‘substantial’ amounts of open space will be retained in a plan for 700 homes in Sheffield.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 2:31 pm

Edward Highfield, director of regeneration at Sheffield City Council, said ‘significant amounts of the mature landscaping’ would be kept and ‘substantial areas of open space will also be retained and improved’ in the Attercliffe Waterside scheme.

But two ‘former’ playing fields on the site had been allocated for development.

He was responding to concerns from the Green Party that the proposals put a large area of recreational space – given to the city by the Duke of Norfolk in 1897 – and biodiversity at risk.

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Edward Highfield, head of regeneration at Sheffield City Council

The 22-acre brownfield scheme was devised 15 years ago in a bid to ease the city’s housing crisis.

It was put on the market two years ago by the three landowners, the Duke of Norfolk, Sheffield City Council and the Canal & River Trust.

Winning developer, Leeds-based Citu, was revealed a year later, in July 2020 - prompting Sheffield MP Clive Betts to complain about delays and a lack of transparency. A planning application has yet to be submitted.

Mr Highfield said: “Proposals for the Attercliffe Waterside site are in progress and we expect that a planning application will be submitted in the summer.

The 22-acre plot in Attercliffe is up for sale.

“Whilst we cannot comment in detail on the proposals at this stage, we do know that the development will concentrate many new homes on the derelict former industrial parts of the site and retain significant amounts of the mature landscaping, which is where the wildlife and biodiversity is mostly present. Substantial areas of open space will also be retained and improved.

“The former playing fields on the site have not been used as such for many years and have been allocated for development since the adoption of the Sheffield Unitary Development Plan in 1998.

“To meet the housing demand for Sheffield’s growing population, we must identify locations that can provide quality homes for residents for years to come. Attercliffe Waterside will benefit from regeneration as a new urban neighbourhood is created, which will have direct access to the Sheffield and Tinsley canal.

“The site is also exceptionally well served by public transport and will benefit from proposed improvements to cycling and walking routes as part of the Connecting Sheffield scheme, which the council has recently consulted on.

Clive Betts MP has voiced frustration at the slowness and lack of information on Attercliffe Waterside.

“Under the Government’s housing need requirements, the council must identify land for 53,000 homes over the period 2020-2038. Through consultation with residents we are looking at how Sheffield can best meet this target, such as through the use of brownfield sites within or close to the city centre, to avoid building on greenbelt land where possible.”

Douglas Johnson, leader of the Green Party in Sheffield, previously said they welcomed the proposal but the two playing fields would be ‘critical’ as open space ‘as was the original purpose when the Duke of Norfolk gave them to the city of Sheffield in 1897’.

He added: “They are a haven for wildlife beside the canal and they should be retained as such.”

The Duke of Norfolk declined to comment.

Coun Douglas Johnson

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.