Sheffield 'does not need any more parks' - property boss hits out at Green concerns over £100m housing plan

A businessman has insisted ‘Sheffield does not need any more parks’ in response to concerns from the Greens over the loss of open space in a £100m housing plan.
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David Slater said the Attercliffe Waterside site was a mix of decrepit factories and neglected wasteland that had been ignored for years.

The canal and surroundings would only be improved when development and gentrification happened, he argued. And parks were a drain on the council.

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He spoke out after Douglas Johnson, leader of the Greens in Sheffield, said the 700-house scheme put a large area of recreational space and biodiversity at risk - and was contrary to the Duke of Norfolk’s intention when he gave two playing fields to the city of Sheffield in 1897.

David Slater.David Slater.
David Slater.

The 22-acre brownfield site was put on the market two years ago by three landowners, the Duke of Norfolk, Sheffield City Council and the Canal & River Trust. Leeds-based Citu was chosen as developer more than a year ago. But the sale has not gone through.

Mr Slater is owner of property firm Spaces and a member of Attercliffe Action Group.

He said: “I have never met councillor Douglas Johnson – he has never contacted me in the 28 years that I have been involved in the regeneration of Attercliffe. I do not believe he has invested any money into the area or joined a litter pick.

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“All of a sudden he pops up with his ‘green’ credentials telling us what we must and mustn’t do on our brownfield development site.

Coun Douglas JohnsonCoun Douglas Johnson
Coun Douglas Johnson

“Sorry councillor but you are wrong. The Attercliffe Waterside site is a mix of decrepit factories and neglected wasteland that has been ignored for years.

“The canal and surroundings will only be improved when development and gentrification happen. There is an opportunity to create an unstoppable momentum that can only bring positives to a currently barren wasteland.

“Sheffield does not need any more parks and we certainly do not need any football pitches, astroturf is the new surface for sport.

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“Swathes of land in Sheffield identified as parks are a drain on council. We need more housing to utilise brownfield sites.”

The 22-acre Attercliffe Waterside site.The 22-acre Attercliffe Waterside site.
The 22-acre Attercliffe Waterside site.

“Councillor Douglas, you are invited to call me or come down and wander up the ‘Cliffe – your comments and observations are not welcome.

“As for the Duke of Norfolk – I look forward to the day when the duke contributes to our renaissance.”

Jeremy Robinson, of agents Fowler Sandford which represents the Duke of Norfolk in Sheffield, said the duke had no comment.

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

But two ‘former’ playing fields on the site were not used much and had been allocated for development.

“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."

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.