Former Sheffield steelworks plans 'would create more than 1,000 jobs'
More than 1,000 jobs could be created on the site of a former Sheffield steelworks, it is claimed.
The old Outokumpu works beside the M1 near Wincobank would be converted for a range of commercial uses, which could include manufacturing, warehouses and offices, under proposals being drawn up.
But opposition to a new access road from Grange Mill Lane, which the developer says is needed to unlock the vast plot's potential, could derail those plans.
The proposed road, beside the Royal Oak Inn and so-called 'Christmas Crane' site, is proving hugely controversial because it would cut through a popular cycle route which forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail.
Objectors have also raised concerns about the potential flood risk from developing the land, which Blackburn Brook, a tributary of the River Don, runs through.
Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Cycle Sheffield, the Environment Agency and the Friends of the Trans Pennine Trail have all objected to plans for the road, as have many members of the public, and more than 350 people have signed a petition opposing its construction.
Selenium Developments has only applied for permission to build the access road at this stage, with plans for the rest of the site expected to follow should that be approved.
Lee Charnley, a director of the firm, said he was puzzled by the strength of opposition to the road given the benefits he claimed redeveloping the site would bring to the area.
He pointed out that a previous application to redevelop the land had 'rightly' failed in 2015 due to objections being raised about plans for a 'dangerous' entry point off Fife Street, between two railway bridges, and this was a much better solution.
Mr Charnley also told how plans were being drawn up to alleviate the flood risk by opening up Blackburn Brook where it is currently culverted, cleaning up the waterway and creating a wider flood channel in which flora and fauna would flourish.
"This would open up for development brownfield land which previously supported about 800 jobs and where the plans we're bringing forward would create upwards of 1,000 new jobs," he said.
"The employment and environmental benefits for the area would be considerable. This is a fantastic urban regeneration story which people seem to be misconstruing."
Bridget Ingle, who started the petition against the road, argues that it would seriously hinder the use of the Trans Penine Trail by cyclists, walkers and runners.
Mr Charnley said the proposed crossing is similar to those already in place less than a mile to the north and south, where he said cyclists already have to dismount.
But he added that the developer was willing to speak to objectors and consider changes to the planned crossing in an attempt to find an 'acceptable solution'.
To view the planning application in full, visit Sheffield Council's planning portal and search for 19/02601/FUL.