Back to the drawing board for Sheffield green belt homes bid

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Developers have gone back to the drawing board in a bid to gain approval for a controversial scheme to build almost 90 homes in Sheffield’s green belt.

Revised plans have been submitted to demolish the former Dyson Refractories ceramics factory on Stopes Road, Stannington, and put up 88 properties.

Because the site has already been built on, some form of replacement can be accepted in principle.

The proposals were originally submitted in January, but now developer Ben Bailey Homes has made several changes to the layout and building materials, as well as adding a ‘landscape masterplan’.

As part of the designs, a section of the old factory’s chimney would be kept standing - however, the height of the stack will now be reduced to improve views through the area.

However, the scheme is still fiercely opposed by protesters, some of whom claim the plans amount to ‘a new village’ distinct from Stannington.

A petition with more than 300 signatures has already been handed in at the Town Hall and there have been nearly 70 individual representations to Sheffield Council.

Andrew Wood, planning officer for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The fact that there is a disused factory there now doesn’t make a housing estate acceptable, in a place where it would otherwise be unthinkable – out in the beautiful open countryside of the Loxley Valley.”

Two, three, four and five bedroom properties are proposed on the Dyson site. The cost of construction would be £10 million, and nearly 70 jobs would be created to build the homes, says Ben Bailey.

The firm says the project is ‘both high quality and sustainable’ and will regenerate ‘run-down, unsightly, previously developed land’.

But one of the objectors, Gill Crownshaw, said: “There do not seem to be any significant changes for the proposals to this site. Regardless of how many properties the developer is intending on building, there is no consideration for the already stretched amenities within the area.

“I really do not feel that the area can safely take any more housing or residents without causing chaos. Another housing development in Stannington is simply not needed, would be an eyesore and will create untold problems.”

And Jan Symington, on behalf of the Loxley Valley Protection Society, said the new plans were ‘equivalent to the rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic’.

“These amendments are incremental tinkering with what is widely considered to be an inappropriate mass housing development on a site in a prominent area within the green belt. This application should be refused.

If this site is redeveloped at all, the application should be radically different.”

Mr Wood added the proposals were ‘not about what is needed at Stopes Road’.

Planning officers are expected to make a recommendation next month - later than originally intended - before a decision is made by councillors at a Town Hall meeting.

Another former Dyson site, off Baslow Road, Totley, is also earmarked for development. Regeneration specialists are considering a number of options, including housing, for the land close to the Peak District.