Greens raise concerns at loss of open space in £100m Sheffield housing plan

The Greens have raised concerns about the potential loss of recreational space and biodiversity in the Attercliffe Waterside scheme.

By David Walsh
Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 3:02 pm

But overall they welcome the proposal saying it ‘fits well’ with their vision of development that maximises non-motorised transport.

The plan for 700 much-needed homes in an up-and-coming area of Sheffield has been criticised over a lack of transparency and long delays.

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.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Plans to build on the 22-acre plot to ease the housing crisis have been discussed for 15 years.

Winning developer, Leeds-based Citu, was revealed a year later in July 2020 following a query from The Star. A planning application has yet to be submitted.

Douglas Johnson, leader of the Green party in Sheffield, said he hoped it still happened.

He added: “We support development along the flat river corridors because there is so much space to be brought back into use and it is suited to maximising easy, non-motorised transport.

“Flat routes along rivers are ideal for cycling and walking and the distance is not very far from the centre of Sheffield.

Clive Betts MP last year voiced frustration at a lack of transparency and long delays over the Attercliffe Waterside plan for 700 much-needed homes.

“Transport is a major contributor to climate change so the ideal is to eliminate commuting by car. That means easy access on foot or by bike and also the facilities to work from home.

“Housing with decent space standards and amenities are critical to this vision.

“Whilst a large area of derelict industrial land is ripe for regeneration, the proposal puts a large area of recreational space and biodiversity at risk.

“The two playing fields are often under-used at present but will be critical as open space to support new housing in the rest of the district, as was the original purpose when the Duke of Norfolk gave them to the city of Sheffield in 1897. They are a haven for wildlife beside the canal and they should be retained as such.

Green councillors Douglas Johnson and Ruth Merserau.

“As a developer, Citu have the potential to offer the high standard of homes that the area deserves. However, residents of Kelham Island will certainly prefer that they finish work there first.”

Citu has been working on its Little Kelham project for more than seven years.

Chris Thompson, managing director of Citu, said he hoped to share plans for Attercliffe Waterside in summer.

He added: “We’ve continued to work with partners in Sheffield, throughout the huge challenges of this last year, to realise the vision for the site at Attercliffe Waterside. It’s a complex site and we’re looking forward to sharing the plans in the summer.”

The Duke of Norfolk is represented in Sheffield by surveyors Fowler Sandford. Agent Jeremy Robinson said they were still carrying out ‘due diligence’ on the sale.

Matthew Cornish of the Canal & River Trust had no comment.

Edward Highfield, director of City Growth at Sheffield City Council, said: “Despite the challenges of Covid-19 over the past year, work is ongoing and we anticipate that a planning application will be submitted over the summer.”

Agent CBRE is representing the three landowners.

Last summer, Sheffield MP Clive Betts hit out at the slow progress of the scheme, which attracted nine expressions of interest when launched in March 2019.

He said it had the potential to be the ‘next Kelham Island’ and the area was on the up due to huge schemes such as the Olympic Legacy Park and the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

A city council spokesman said the delays in 2019 were due to ‘clarification discussions with the bidders, landowner discussions and due diligence’.

On the delay in announcing Citu as the winner, he added: “There are three landowners involved, each with their own approval processes. Any public announcement would only be made once commercial and legal terms have been finalised.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.