Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake backs campaign to stop flats being built on Crookes community garden

A Sheffield MP is supporting residents in the latest round of a long running fight to stop a developer from building on a community garden.

Monday, 21st March 2022, 1:54 pm

Plans to build apartments and shops on Cobden View Road in Crookes have been repeatedly submitted and withdrawn over the past two years.

The latest application for 13 flats and three retail units has already prompted 37 letters of objection, including Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake.

More than 670 people and local councillors signed a petition to protect the land when the original plans were unveiled.

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Crookes residents, local councillors and Olivia Blake MP are campaigning to save the community garden at Cobden View Road

Residents have enjoyed the open space for more than 60 years and used it as a cut through between Northfield Road and Cobden View Road.

Wildlife haven

Ms Blake said: “This plot of land had long been used and tended to by local churches, families, voluntary organisations and the wider community as Cobden View community garden, a much loved green space with a long established public right of way.

“The community maintained this site, planting bulbs and wildflowers and developing it as a safe haven for local wildlife.

Plans to build apartments and shops on a community garden on Cobden View Road in Crookes have been repeatedly submitted and withdrawn over the past two years

“The pandemic has highlighted to all of us the importance of accessible green spaces. Crookes is a well built-up urban area, which makes the survival of the few pockets of greenery, all the more important.

“With Sheffield Council having recognised, and working to address, both the climate and nature emergencies, it would be hard to justify approving a development which the applicant’s ecological report notes ‘will result in the loss of all existing habitats on site.’”

Ms Blake says she is also concerned about traffic and parking problems being exacerbated and that the development would tower over neighbouring properties, blocking light to several houses and intruding on people’s privacy

The developer caused outrage when 8ft high solid fences were suddenly erected on a bank holiday weekend and trees started to be felled. At one point, residents called the police, supported by local councillors.

‘Lack of concern for local people’

Mr Blake added: “This was an attempted destruction of this green space and felling of trees, which the developer started undertaking well prior to requesting planning permission.

“The developer previously brought contractors onto the site and commenced construction work, erecting a fence around the perimeter of the site, before attempting to seek planning permission.

“The council’s enforcement team had to be called out on this and another occasion, when the developer’s contracts attempted to clear the community garden and remove trees and hedges in the early hours of the morning.

“These actions speak to a disinterest in maintaining good neighbourly relations and a disregard for protocol and planning regulations.

“By enclosing a beloved community garden and vital open space without prior notice or any means of community consultation, the developer has repeatedly shown disregard for residents and the wider Crookes community.

“This application follows the withdrawal of two prior applications. I am concerned that these repeated applications and withdrawals, without consultation or communication, again shows a lack of concern to neighbours who have been kept in the dark about the future of this site for nearly two years now.”

Planners are considering the latest application