Campaigners warn fight is not finished as controversial housing development in picturesque Sheffield valley is rejected

Plans to build hundreds of new homes in the picturesque Loxley Valley - which prompted 900 objections - have been refused but campaigners warn the fight is not over yet.

Thursday, 17th September 2020, 12:43 pm

Councillors unanimously rejected up to 300 new houses on the Hepworth's factory site along the River Loxley, less than half a mile from Sheffield’s border with the Peak District National Park.

But the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fears the developers may appeal and it could end in a public inquiry.

Developers Patrick Properties envisaged homes, a community homeworking hub, cafe/restaurant, GP surgery, workshops, parking for around 552 cars, 97 visitor spaces and commercial parking, a village green and public squares.

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Campaigners say the fight to save the old Hepworth's site isn't over

They said it was the only way of funding a clean-up of derelict refractory works that were abandoned by Hepworths in the early 1990s.

Andy Tickle of the CPRE said: "We're delighted that this highly unsustainable proposal for a new, car-dependent township in the Loxley Valley has been refused.

"It was the wrong development in the wrong place - ruining Sheffield's precious doorstep countryside and green belt, and doing little to address the climate emergency. It is no wonder it was so fiercely opposed by so many.

There was a lengthy campaign against the development and objectors include Gill Furniss MP, Olivia Blake MP, local councillors, Sheffield Green Party, Friends of Loxley Valley, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Loxley Valley Design Group, Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society, Grenoside Conservation Society, Sheffield Climate Alliance, Peak District National Park and Rivelin Valley Conservation Group.

There were also 200 letters in support of it. Lauren Neary, on behalf of Patrick Properties, told the meeting: "We are extremely disappointed this has been brought to committee at this stage and we have been cut short in our negotiations.

"We are in clear disagreement with officers and matters could have been worked through with more time."

But councillors were united against the scheme. Coun Andrew Sangar said: "The Loxley Valley has a special character and we were expecting something to come in but this application doesn't do justice to the site."

Coun Peter Price added: "This is way over the top and too big for the green belt but the old factory is a blot on the Loxley Valley and quite dangerous so something needs to be done."

After the meeting, Coun Bob Johnson, Cabinet member for development and transport, said he was "delighted" with the outcome.

“I know the strength of feeling there was against these plans and I hope it will be a relief to many to see this development rejected by councillors.

"The council is committed to protecting the green belt, and while the development proposals included brownfield sites, which were once the Hepworth factory, the sheer scale of this would have undoubtedly affected the natural splendour of the area.

“What we are committed to seeing in Sheffield is developments which work for the local area – ensuring that green spaces are protected, whilst providing decent affordable housing and well connected transport links.

"I hope that planning applications which do not meet these continue to be rejected."

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