Last week the Planning Committee approved the demolition of a historic row of small independent shops on Devonshire Street despite 20,000 objections from the public. There were 600 individual comments objecting to the planning application, 300 demonstrated outside the Town Hall and scores sat through the meeting. How could the council ignore them?
The Planning Committee has to follow national planning legislation and local guidance, which ties their hands. But there IS local guidance about what the Devonshire Quarter should look like and this clearly states there should be a mix of shops and residential uses, with particular support for local independent businesses.
Officers said that the buildings, dating from 1853 and including an original interior, did not have sufficient historical interest to be saved. But the row is a relatively rare example of architecture in the middle of town that survived the war. Indeed the nearby Devonshire Green was intended as a memorial to the Sheffield Blitz.
Many treasures from our past have already been lost. To allow brave decisions to be made we need new, more progressive and firmer planning guidelines based on foresight for public good and protection of our heritage.
The Green Party Candidate, Sheffield Central