Controversial plans for new housing estate in Sheffield go before councillors

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Controversial plans to build new homes on a wildlife haven will go before councillors next week.

Hundreds of people have objected to Avant homes building 74 properties on Owlthorpe Fields off Moorthorpe Way near Crystal Peaks.

It's the first phase of housing which could ultimately see 500 new homes on the site.

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The estate would include 24 with three bedrooms, 31 with four bedrooms and four with five bedrooms plus another 15 homes which are affordable shared ownership.

How the new Avant homes at Owlthorpe would lookHow the new Avant homes at Owlthorpe would look
How the new Avant homes at Owlthorpe would look

It would be accessed from an extension to the road that serves Owlthorpe doctors surgery with cul-de-sacs leading off either side.

The northern part of the site adjoining Ochre Dyke is to be kept as open space, around 15 per cent of the site, with houses overlooking it.

In the first round of consultation, 172 people objected and during a second consultation, 162 objected. Just two people were in favour.

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Residents are very concerned about the loss of wildlife, open green space and trees. They fear it will increase traffic and congestion, put a strain on the doctor's surgery and schools, and add to air pollution.

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire and the People's Trust for Endangered Species have also objected.

Planning officers are recommending the scheme should go ahead because the land is designated for housing but admit they have concerns about the environmental impact.

In a report, they say: "The re-grading and development in part of the on-site buffer zone along with the loss of the species rich hedge is regrettable and officers have some reservations as to whether the applicant has made a serious attempt to mitigate these losses.

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"However, the council’s landscape and ecology officers are of the view that the impact on trees and biodiversity is not so great that it should prevent development of the site.

"The council’s ecologist believes the on-site landscaping and mitigation and the off-site compensation will together result in a net gain in biodiversity in the longer term."

The committee will decide during an online meeting on Tuesday, June 2.

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