Row over historic Sheffield site under threat from housing developers

A senior councillor has denied claims that a historic Sheffield site could under threat because the city doesn't have a Local Plan.

Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 10:42 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 10:45 am
Wincobank residents hold protest walk against plans to build houses on open space which they believe was once part of the old Roman Ridge. Pictured at the development site on Sandstone Road.

Liberal Democrat Leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed says a Wincobank site built by Celtic warriors could be developed for housing because the council hasn't signed off its long awaited Local Plan.

The Local Plan is a blueprint for how the city will be developed over the next 15 years.

Labour has slammed the claim as 'simply not true' but says national planning policies heavily favour the interests of developers over local communities.

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Campaigners led by Bridget Ingle, daughter of the late Brendan Ingle, want to safeguard the open space off Sandstone Road in Wincobank. Developers have applied to build 22 homes, six years after a similar application was rejected by the planning committee.

Residents believe it lies on the route of the Roman Ridge, an ancient landmark which once stretched for 27km from Lady's Bridge to Mexborough and and is now thought to have been built as a defensive barrier by a Celtic tribe called the Brigantes, who pre-dated the Romans.

Coun Mohammed said: 'Without a Local Plan it is going to be almost impossible to stop a development. Labour has given warm words to local residents but it's more than likely that planning permission will be granted.

'The lack of a Local Plan means there's no alternative sites for developers to consider. This delay is now hitting local communities.'

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Development, refuted the claim.

He said: 'I have been absolutely clear that Wincobank Hill is a unique, precious and very important part of our city's great heritage.

'The council has rejected planning applications here before and I am sure the planning committee will form the right view in this instance.

'It is simply not true to say that the council is more likely to approve planning applications when there is no Local Plan.

'However it is undeniable that the national planning policies which were put in place by the Tory Lib-Dem Coalition '“ which Coun Mohammed fully supported '“ heavily favour the interests of developers over local communities.

'The Government is cosying up to big business property developers and riding roughshod over the wishes of local people. The cruel cuts and bad changes to planning rules which we have had to endure are the real problem here.

'Coun Mohammed knows this full well and he should stop blaming the council for following the national policy that his own party introduced.'