Planning inquiry into controversial township in picturesque valley draws to a close

An inquiry into controversial plans to build up to 300 new homes in Sheffield's Loxley Valley will resume today.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 12:07 pm

Last September, councillors unanimously rejected plans for a huge new development on the Hepworth's factory site at Storrs Bridge Lane along the River Loxley, less than half a mile from Sheffield’s border with the Peak District National Park.

Developers Patrick Properties drew up a plan for homes, a community homeworking hub, cafe/restaurant, GP surgery, workshops, parking for around 650 cars, a village green and public squares.

There were 900 objections to the blueprint and councillors refused it following a report from officers which criticised the scheme.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Friends of Loxley Valley raised £15,000 to fight the inquiry

Patrick Properties appealed and a planning inquiry opened in April but it had to be paused when some witnesses and legal experts were unavailable.

It will resume today and is expected to last for three days before concluding. The inspector will then make a decision which is expected later in the summer.

The Friends of Loxley Valley successfully raised £15,000 in donations so it could pay for its own legal expertise, alongside the council and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

It's been a long and tiring battle for campaigners. Patrick Properties submitted the plans in December 2019 but the derelict refractory works have been a concern since they were abandoned by Hepworth's in the early 1990s.

Patrick Properties say housing is the only way to fund a clean-up of the site but campaigners say it's an overdevelopment which would ruin the environment and create traffic chaos.