Campaigners face new fight to protect Sheffield wildlife haven after developers appeal

Developers have launched an appeal after councillors overwhelmingly blocked plans to build homes on a Sheffield wildlife haven.

Friday, 25th September 2020, 12:30 pm

Campaigners were delighted when councillors refused to allow Avant Homes to build 74 properties on Owlthorpe Fields. It could have paved the way for hundreds more.

Councillors said they would damage ecology and create traffic congestion.

But residents face a new battle as the developer has appealed and it will be a difficult fight as the land was designated as housing by Sheffield Council many years ago.

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Avant Homes wants to build 74 properties on Owlthorpe Fields.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts had tried to broker a compromise with the developers and residents drew up an alternative scheme for a S20 wildlife corridor which would link a number of sites along the Ochre Dyke valley, starting with Owlthorpe Fields and ending at Holbrook Washlands.

Christine Rippon, of Owlthorpe Fields Action Group, said: "Appeal documents quietly appeared on the planning portal of the council website.

"The appeal is highly controversial, not least because 10 out of 12 councillors decided against the application, with two abstentions.

"The overwhelming views of the local community are well known on this issue, but are still being ignored.

The land was designated as housing by Sheffield Council many years ago.

"The developers are making their appeal in the face of growing calls from the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, People’s Trust for Endangered Species and many other voices, including Sheffield Council, to act urgently on climate change at a local level as well as nationally and globally.

"Future generations will not thank us if we fail to fight so we will fight the appeal but we need to raise funds to pay for legal assistance.”

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