Countryside campaigners welcome plans to protect Sheffield's Green Belt
Countryside campaigners have welcomed the first instalment of Sheffield's long awaited Local Plan but warn it must do more to tackle the climate emergency.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England gave a positive reaction to the "Issues and Options" paper, which is due to be released for public consultation in September.
It's the first step in a lengthy process to create a new blueprint for how Sheffield will be developed over the next 15 years.
Andy Tickle, head of campaigns at CPRE South Yorkshire, said: “It’s saying broadly the right things and setting out some very clear choices on the future of our precious Green Belt.
“Our initial message to the council is we must aim at maximising urban housing provision as it’s good for the countryside, for the climate emergency and a vibrant local economy.
"But we’re disappointed that meeting radical climate change targets does not seem to be fully factored into the options being consulted on. This will need to change if the council is to meet its own targets to be carbon zero by 2030."
For the Green Belt, the paper present three stark choices:
Option A - almost no new houses in the Green Belt
Option B: 5,000 new houses in the Green Belt (which would be about an eighth of the new houses needed)
Option C - 10,000 new houses in the Green Belt (a quarter of the number required up to 2038).
However, the council makes it clear that the final aim may be somewhere between the options.
The council also says that national planning rules on the Green Belt mean that Option A must be considered first as Green Belt land can only be built on in exceptional circumstances.
It raises the possibility of not releasing Green Belt land until much later, to maximise the use of urban and brownfield sites first - an approach long supported by the CPRE.
The council acknowledges that a key message from the last consultation in 2015 was that people want countryside and Green Belt protected.
The full report is available here