How an inspector will have the final say on Sheffield’s green land

Sheffield has become a focal point for planning inquiries with campaigners across the city raising thousands of pounds to fight developments on green land.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:30 pm

If a developer is refused planning permission they can appeal and take it to an inquiry where an inspector will make a final decision.

Local authorities are keen to avoid inquiries because of the cost to taxpayers. Councillors and officers constantly check they are operating within planning policy and legislation when making decisions.

If councillors go against officers’ advice and refuse an application, they must give reasons which fit into strict criteria.

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Residents across Sheffield are fighting planning inquiries

But recently there have been three appeals, all concerning plans to build housing on green open land.

The council recently lost an appeal to stop 71 homes from being built on wildlife haven Owlthorpe Fields at Moorthorpe Way, Crystal Peaks.

Councillors voted overwhelmingly to reject the scheme but they went against their own officers’ advice as the land was earmarked for housing.

That made it trickier to fight the appeal and the inspector ruled in favour of developers Avant Homes.

Owlthorpe Fields Action Group had spent two years campaigning against the development and raised thousands of pounds to fight the inquiry.

Residents are determined to continue the fight and are now looking to raise up to £50,000 for a statutory review of the inquiry. More than £7,000 has already been donated.

At the other side of the city, the Friends of Loxley Valley are gearing up to fight an inquiry in April.

Councillors unanimously rejected plans for up to 300 homes on the Hepworth’s factory site along the River Loxley, following a report from officers which criticised the scheme. Developers Patrick Properties appealed.

The Friends group has raised £12,000 out of a target of £15,000 to pay for planning experts and possible legal representation at the appeal.

And an inspector will make the final ruling on whether 85 homes can be built on Hollin Busk fields at the junction with Carr Road and Hollin Busk Lane, Deepcar.

Councillors overwhelmingly refused the scheme but developer Hallam Land Management has appealed.

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.