Almost 1000 people sign petition against plan to build housing on Sheffield's green fields

Dozens of people turned out for a walk to support a campaign to protect fields from being developed into housing.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 2:00 pm

A petition to protect Owlthorpe Fields at Moorthorpe Way, Crystal Peaks, has now topped 925 names.

Councillors refused permission for Avant Homes to build 71 properties on Owlthorpe Fields, but they were overruled by a planning inspector.

Known as Site E, it is one of three earmarked for development. Campaigners now want to protect two neighbouring fields, Sites C and D, during the building work and ultimately to stop them being sold off.

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Campaigners at the site.

Christine Rippon of the Group said: “Avant Homes now own Site E but residents have tied ribbons and messages to the fencing as a powerful and poignant response from our community.

“People struggled to comprehend how many hundreds of self-set trees will be destroyed. All expressed concern at the risk to wildlife, the ancient woodland of Ochre Dyke, and to Ochre Dyke itself.”

Campaigners want the sites to be stripped of their housing allocation and instead be protected or designated as a wildlife area, possibly as part of the S20 Wildlife Corridor.

Ms Rippon added: “We clearly understand the council is required by the Government to provide sufficient land to build 50,000 houses across the city over the next 15 years and what a difficult prospect that is.

“However, we hope the council will come to a sensible conclusion because of the advanced rewilding that has taken place on Owlthorpe Fields over a generation and all the wildlife it supports.

“Sites C and D should be protected from any damage or development and not sold until the new Local Plan is adopted in 2023.

“Our hopes are high that common sense will prevail, as the council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and a nature emergency in June 2021.

“We are encouraged that the council increasingly understands the overwhelming need to protect biodiversity, foster nature recovery and the importance of increasing tree cover.”

The family walk was supported by Act Now drama group who gave a performance. The online petition can be signed here