Historic farm buildings in Sheffield community under threat again from demolition

Residents are fighting another threat to historic farm buildings in their community after Sheffield Council allegedly refused to negotiate with a developer.

Monday, 31st January 2022, 12:43 pm
Updated Monday, 31st January 2022, 2:18 pm

The council refused plans to demolish the 18th century barn and farmhouse at Wiggan Farm, 30 Towngate Road, Worrall, to make way for up to 67 new homes in 2020 saying the development would result in the loss of heritage assets which would be harmful to the character of the local area and the nearby Grade II listed buildings.

But the developers have since resubmitted the controversial plans, saying they were left with no other choice.

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A controversial planning application has been resubmitted after what a campaigner has called a 'bureaucratic mix-up' by Sheffield Council

Rather than appeal the decision, the developers sought to overcome the reasons for refusal by agreeing to use an alternative access to the site via land owned by the council – an option the council previously said it would prefer on both heritage and highway safety grounds and which would save the historic buildings.

After several attempts to communicate with the council about this, the authority finally told the developer – more than four months after it first raised this – that it would prefer to wait and see the outcome of any appeal before it considers the sale of the land. This was despite the deadline to appeal having long passed and the developer never saying that it was going to appeal.

The situation was detailed in a statement provided with the resubmission of the plans by the developer, which added: “Given the response by the council, the applicants have no alternative but to proceed again…There is clear evidence from the council that they are not willing to work with the applicant to secure a different point of access to overcome the reasons for refusal.”

A controversial planning application has been resubmitted after what a campaigner has called a 'bureaucratic mix-up' by Sheffield Council

Robin Hughes, of Hallamshire Historic Buildings (HHB), lives near the site and said ‘you really couldn’t make it up’.

In HHB’s objection to the resubmitted plans, the group said: “We commend the applicant’s willingness to consider and invest in the alternative approach, and we share their deep frustration. As the applicant stated no intention of appealing, and indeed could not have appealed given that the reply from the council came after the six month deadline had expired, the council’s decision is baffling.”

Mr Hughes said the council had given no indication as to what, if anything, it is doing about the situation so he has submitted a public question to a full council meeting this week to get answers.

He warned a decision could be made on the resubmitted plans as soon as February 8 and without quick and decisive action the historic buildings – which HHB say are important to the local historic environment – could be lost as a result of a ‘bureaucratic mix-up’.

There are 94 comments on the resubmitted plans from the public, 93 of which are objections raising various concerns including about heritage and road safety.

On the original plans, there were 138 comments of which 131 were objections raising the same concerns. Objectors included Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam, local ward councillors Penny and David Baker and many local residents.

Sheffield Council was contacted for comment.