Campaigners celebrate ‘win for wildlife’ as Sheffield Council rejects plans for luxury homes

Campaigners have successfully defended a wildlife haven as Sheffield Council overwhelmingly voted to reject plans to build new luxury homes there.

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 3:38 pm

Kenwood Community Growers and Nether Edge Sustainable Transformation are celebrating the win for local wildlife including badgers, birds and bats after the council’s planning and highways committee went against officers this week.

Read More

Read More
Sheffield Council lets developer off the hook for unlawful demolition of landmar...

Campaigners said the “bling” new homes – which are a mix of four, five and six bed – in the grounds of Kenwood Hall Hotel, in the Nether Edge Conservation Area, would have meant removing a large number of mature trees and hedgerows.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Campaigners have successfully defended a wildlife haven as Sheffield Council overwhelmingly voted to reject plans to build new luxury homes there.

They were part of more than 100 objectors to the scheme including former councillor for the area Alison Teal, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Gardens Trust and the Sheffield Conservation Advisory Group.

Campaigners’ battle to save the site

The Growers used the site for gardening and donated produce to Food Works but it was ordered to leave to enable this planning application, leaving them with nowhere to go and facing a loss of £5,000 in funding.

Sharon Watson, who regularly gardened at the site over two years, spoke at the planning meeting on behalf of campaigners.

Trees getting chopped down at Kenwood Hall.

She said the site was home to more than 30 species of wildflower and 46 identified bird species including the song thrush, tawny owl and dunnock.

Ms Watson added: “We are extremely concerned about the impact of the tree removal and hedgerows around the perimeter of the site.

“[There is a group tree protection order] around the trees on the site and yet on the adjacent stable block development every tree, every scrap of vegetation including the mature specimens have been removed. Furthermore, because I saw it and I have evidence of it, those trees were removed in May at the height of the bird nesting season.”

She also questioned the lack of affordable homes in the plans.

Sharon Watson, speaking on behalf of Kenwood Community Growers and Nether Edge Sustainable Transformation at Sheffield Council's planning and highways committee meeting.

Chris Heeley, planning officer, said the alleged unauthorised loss of trees was under investigation but part of another development.

The vote

Councillors went against officers’ recommendation to approve the plans.

It was an overwhelming rejection with eight votes against, three in favour and one abstention.

The site at Kenwood Hall, Sheffield.

Ahead of voting, councillor Sophie Wilson, who voted against the plans, said: “To me it doesn’t seem right to approve something so extremely luxurious and unneeded when there is a group that is using this site to tackle the problems we are facing in the rest of the city.”

Councillor Peter Price said it was a “step too far” and did too much damage to the environment just for four houses.

This decision ensures the site is safe for now but developers have the right to appeal, meaning the council’s decision could be overturned at a later date.

An updated local plan for Sheffield is still well overdue and not expected until 2024, a year after the government’s deadline, and it still cannot meet the government’s five year housing supply target, meaning it has less control and defence against unwanted housing developments such as this.

The site at Kenwood Hall, Sheffield.