From ‘King of Sheffield’ Willy Collins’ 37-ton headstone to Fargate shipping containers – Sheffield’s most controversial planning applications this year

Here we take a look at the plans that stirred debate, sparked protest and shocked planning officials in Sheffield so far this year.
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The UK’s biggest gravestone

News of a record-breaking headstone in tribute to Willy Collins’, also known as the King of Sheffield and Big Willy Collins, went viral – hitting headlines across national newspapers and broadcasters.

The 37-ton landmark made from Italian marble, and believed to have cost tens of thousands of pounds, was unveiled in Shiregreen Cemetery in March.

Here we take a look at the plans that stirred debate, sparked protest and shocked planning officials in Sheffield so far this year from Willy Collins', also known as the King of Sheffield, headstone to the shipping containers on Fargate.Here we take a look at the plans that stirred debate, sparked protest and shocked planning officials in Sheffield so far this year from Willy Collins', also known as the King of Sheffield, headstone to the shipping containers on Fargate.
Here we take a look at the plans that stirred debate, sparked protest and shocked planning officials in Sheffield so far this year from Willy Collins', also known as the King of Sheffield, headstone to the shipping containers on Fargate.
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Calls to rethink ‘concerning’ active neighbourhood in Sheffield suburbs
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It features two life-sized statues of the bare-knuckle boxer’s six-foot-two frame, four flagpoles, depictions of Jesus Christ and biblical scenes.

A solar-powered jukebox plays Willy’s favourite tracks and the monument is lit in LED lights that change colour.

Sheffield Council said the plans applied for ‘differ from the memorial in place’ but it is still standing several months later despite the authority saying it would discuss changes with the family to comply with rules.

The giant headstone for Willy Collins was unveiled in Shiregreen cemetery in MarchThe giant headstone for Willy Collins was unveiled in Shiregreen cemetery in March
The giant headstone for Willy Collins was unveiled in Shiregreen cemetery in March

Willy’s widow, Kathleen Collins, warned there would be “war” and riots if it was damaged or taken down.

Sheffield’s only dog park shut down

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One of the city’s most recent planning controversies saw more than a hundred dog owners rally around Sheffield’s only dog park to save it from closure.

Mick Hill provided a dog park where owners could let their pets run free for £10 per hour in a field he owns in Rivelin Valley for several months.

Mick Hill provided a dog park where owners could let their pets run free for £10 per hour in a field he owns in Rivelin Valley for several months.Mick Hill provided a dog park where owners could let their pets run free for £10 per hour in a field he owns in Rivelin Valley for several months.
Mick Hill provided a dog park where owners could let their pets run free for £10 per hour in a field he owns in Rivelin Valley for several months.

But it was closed down by Sheffield Council when it learned he did not have planning permission.

More than 130 dog owners wrote in support of Mr Hill when he submitted a retrospective application, saying it provided an essential safe environment for them.

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But the council’s planning and highways committee unanimously refused it, shutting down the park for good, because it sits in the green belt.

Waiting for Sheffield’s Fargate shipping containers

Sheffield is still waiting for the opening of the council’s new Fargate attraction which is now months behind the initial schedule.Sheffield is still waiting for the opening of the council’s new Fargate attraction which is now months behind the initial schedule.
Sheffield is still waiting for the opening of the council’s new Fargate attraction which is now months behind the initial schedule.

Sheffield is still waiting for the opening of the council’s new Fargate attraction which is now months behind the initial schedule.

Foundations for the shipping container attraction appeared in June with the aim of having the development open ahead of the Women’s Euros.

The delay was partly blamed on the council planning to build it on top of one of the largest sewers in the city.

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Yorkshire Water – which was not consulted – raised concern saying it could cause structural damage to the sewers and block emergency access.

Plans were amended in July but no new opening date has been given since and confused shoppers are wondering when it will be unveiled.

What Staindrop Lodge should be used for

Staindrop Lodge Hotel in Chapeltown. Picture Scott MerryleesStaindrop Lodge Hotel in Chapeltown. Picture Scott Merrylees
Staindrop Lodge Hotel in Chapeltown. Picture Scott Merrylees

Staindrop Lodge, in Chapeltown, was at the centre of controversy when plans were submitted to convert the hotel into 44 bedsits for homeless people.

More than 300 objections, mostly from local residents and politicians, were made highlighting a catalogue of complaints when the building was used as temporary homeless accommodation during Covid-19 lockdowns.

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The plan was refused but earlier this year debate around what it should be used for was stirred up again.

Councillors fought the Home Office on plans to use it to house asylum seekers, saying it was not good enough as there were no local support services.

Excess student accommodation

It is no secret that Sheffield has an excessive amount of student accommodation and councillors have called out developers putting yet more plans forward for years.

Council officers weighing up a scheme for a block of 378 student flats plainly said in a document that there was an excess of this type of housing, a shortage of other types of homes and it would be preferable if developers built what was needed.

‘Fag packet’ housing targets and out of date local plan

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Perhaps the biggest planning related controversy in Sheffield this year has been the government increasing housing targets.

Councillors repeatedly slammed Conservatives, saying the figures were “done on the back of a fag packet” and planners would need to build “castles in the sky” in order to meet them.

Officers worked out it would mean losing a staggering seven percent of Sheffield’s green belt – destroying its reputation as the Outdoor City.

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This change meant there was a tilted balance in favour of any housing development that came before the council until it could prove the target would be met.

As a result, the council’s long-awaited local plan – which would give better control over developments – has been pushed back by even more years.