Developers hoping to build houses on Sheffield wildlife site asked to find compromise with council

A Sheffield MP has written to housing developers asking them to sit down with the council to find a way forward with a controversial planning application.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 2:37 pm

Councillors recently rejected Avant Homes' plans to build 74 houses on Owlthorpe Fields, which could have led the way for hundreds more homes.

The site should have been developed along the rest of the Crystal Peaks townships but instead, it was left to its own devices and flourished with greenery and wildlife.

Residents have used it for exercise and as a tranquil haven for 30 years but under council policy, it was greenfield land for housing.

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Owlthorpe Fields as seen from above

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts is not opposed to housing - the land was first purchased by the council for development when he was chairman of housing in the early 1980s - but he has written to Avant Homes urging them to find a compromise.

In his letter, he says: "We can either have a very confrontational approach to this with your taking the rejection to appeal. Or you can sit down with the council and with the local action group and other stakeholders and try and reach an agreement about a master plan for the whole of the area.

"If you are prepared to do this I would encourage the council to be flexible in its approach to yourselves recognising, as I do, that you have been selected to be the developer of this site and have clearly spent money as a company in putting forward the scheme which you have.

"I hope at least for an indication in principle that you are prepared to sit down and discuss a way forward, initially with no commitment as to the eventual outcome. It doesn’t seem you have anything to lose."

Mr Betts says if Avant Homes agrees to work collectively, he will ask Coun Bob Johnson, Cabinet member for planning, to discuss how to move forward.

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