Sheffield Local Plan delay giving ‘free rein to developers’

Sheffield Liberal Democrats have hit out against the ruling Labour group’s decision to delay the council’s Local Plan by a further four years.

Sheffield's Local Plan is the blueprint for how the city will develop
Sheffield's Local Plan is the blueprint for how the city will develop

Earlier this week it was revealed Sheffield Council will not have a Local Plan – a blueprint for how the city will be developed – until September 2023.

Councillor Penny Baker, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Labour’s delay is giving free rein to developers. Developers can try and build anywhere across our city – including on the green belt – because Labour has failed to write a local plan.

“The Labour council should have released the draft plan more than a year ago. Now they’re starting from scratch. They started the original consultation back in 2015. We won’t get the plan implemented until 2023. That’s eight years after the process started. If Labour really wanted to protect our green spaces, they would have done their job properly in the first place.”

Officers say the plan has been delayed by changes to national government policies. Simon Vincent, local plan service manager, said the report will now cover 2023-2038.

He said the previous development strategy was now out of date and they were currently ‘some way off’ developing an updated draft plan.

Coun Ian Auckland, shadow cabinet member for transport and development, said: “This decision is Labour delaying writing the rule book for development in Sheffield. It risks uncontrolled development on our green belt and green spaces for years to come.

“Labour have been working on this since 2015, and now they say they’re starting from scratch. It’s a complete disaster and Sheffield deserves better.”