Sheffield Council to spend more than half a million pounds on long-awaited local plan this year

Sheffield Council expects to spend more than half a million pounds on its long-awaited local plan this year, nearly a decade after work on it began.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 30th September 2021, 1:34 pm

The council has been criticised for delays to the plan, which when implemented will guide developments around the city until 2038.

Concerns have been raised about the city being unable to robustly defend itself against unsuitable developments until it is put in place.

Several questions were asked about the local plan at this month’s full council meeting.

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City centre.

In a written reply to a question from councillor Martin Smith about costs, Coun Terry Fox, leader of the council, confirmed that since the start of this financial year the council had already spent £17,750 on legal, consultancy and miscellaneous fees associated with the plan.

The forecast spend for similar work leading to the adoption of the local plan – expected to be in 2023 – is currently £541,436.

A table provided in the answer gave a breakdown of estimated staff costs for the whole of the financial year, based on last year’s spending, which came to a total of £561,959.39.

Coun Fox said: “The figures reflect the many reports and inputs needed to support the evidence base associated with this complex and vital piece of work.”

The Liberal Democrats put a motion forward at full council urging leaders to push ahead with the local plan which has been in development since 2012 but delayed a number of times.

Mystery surrounds why it was delayed and until it is in place, the council is reliant on policies from the Unitary Development Plan (from 1998) and the Core Strategy (from 2009) which are mostly outdated.