Sheffield Council refuses to reveal green belt sites as housing row grows

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Sheffield Council has refused to reveal where 117 green belt sites suggested for potential housing are located.

Some 206 sites across the city were submitted by developers and landowners for assessment during a ‘call for housing sites’ consultation.

Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors asked for exact details of where the 106 sites in the green belt, and 11 sites partially within it, were located with a Freedom of Information request.

But the council’s response said information would be published in future and disclosing a site now could cause ‘major concerns’ when it may end up being disregarded for development. It said the public interest in not revealing details outweighed the public interest in doing so and the refusal would protect work in progress.

Coun Steve Ayris, shadow cabinet member for housing, said: “‘Local people are being left in the dark over the future of their green spaces. Residents deserve to know now whether green spaces in their local area are at risk from being developed or not.”

The council says there is a shortage of housing in the city and no decisions have been made on locations.

A spokesman said sites found to be unsuitable would be ruled out.

He said: “To disclose sites now that have been suggested would lead to the naming of areas and sites that would ultimately not be suitable, causing unnecessary concern to those who could be adversely affected by inappropriate development that the council would not actually propose.”