More consultation on controversial ancient woods plan

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More consultation is to be held on controversial plans for a motorway service station at ancient woodland in Sheffield.

The proposals for junction 35 of the M1, beside Smithy Woods in Chapeltown, have been objected to by thousands of people and received national attention.

A decision on the plans has now been delayed until January so that additional technical studies can be provided by applicant Extra to Sheffield Council.

A spokesman for the firm said: “When that information is submitted it will be the subject of a statutory consultation organised by the planning authority.

“In addition, we are also looking at how we can organise our own activities to make sure that the details of our plans are fully appreciated.

“We will work with the planning authority and local representatives to confirm those plans as we do not want to create any confusion with the statutory consultation.”

A council spokesman said: “The applicant wants to do some further public consultation on mitigation measures that they are preparing, before submitting them as part of an amendment to their application.

“The council has agreed to wait for this, as it is only reasonable to let the applicant try and address public concerns, but we will also consult again when the revised information and their proposed mitigation measures are submitted.”

Residents and woodland groups fear the plans will destroy irreplaceable wildlife habitats that will be lost forever and a precedent will be set if they are approved.

Jean Howe, from Cowley Residents’ Action Group, said: “It’s taken them two years to consult local people and they are doing it at the last minute.”

Extra says there is a need for the £40m service station, it will create 700 jobs and it is developing a package of ‘health and leisure benefits’.

Residents are hosting a community picnic at the Travellers Inn on fields at Smithy Wood Road next Sunday September 20 from 11.30am.