Residents come up with alternative plan for Sheffield wildlife haven after housing is rejected

Residents who fought a long battle to stop new homes being built on a wildlife haven have come up with an alternative plan which they claim could help the council hit its zero net carbon target.

By Lucy Ashton
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 11:55 am

Campaigners were delighted when councillors overwhelmingly blocked Avant Homes from building 74 new properties on Owlthorpe Fields.

The land was designated as housing by Sheffield Council many years ago but councillors said it would damage ecology, create traffic congestion and was a piecemeal development.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts is trying to reach a compromise with the developers but in the meantime, residents have drawn up their own alternative.

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Owlthorpe Fields Action Group, along with Dr Patrick Harrison of Hull University, has produced a document for an S20 wildlife corridor which would link up a number of sites along the Ochre Dyke valley, starting with Owlthorpe Fields and ending at Holbrook Washlands.

Claire Baker, of the Action Group, said: "We understand that Sheffield needs housing and has targets to meet, but we wanted to put forward an alternative vision to housing that would benefit a number of communities, whilst developing housing sites where it would have less of an environmental impact.

"We believe our vision of a two-mile long wildlife corridor will address climate change issues assisting Sheffield Council to reach zero net carbon targets.

"It will also, very importantly, create a space not just for nature to flourish but for the community to improve its physical and mental health, along with providing a space for children to engage with the natural world.

"It could generate its own income streams, create employment opportunities for the local community and adults with learning difficulties, and grant funding could be obtained.

"The vision is bold and would need to involve multiple stakeholders, but if it could be achieved, what a pioneering and exciting project it could be for Sheffield."

The document is being sent to Sheffield Council, schools, the universities, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust.

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