New homes could scupper plans to restore long-lost Sheffield railway line, warn campaigners

A huge new housing development given the go-ahead in Sheffield could scupper plans to revive a long-lost railway line, it is feared.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 4:05 pm

Bloor Homes’ revised plans to build 430 homes at an old industrial site in Deepcar were given the go-ahead on Tuesday, May 12, in Sheffield Council’s first virtual planning meeting to take place under the coronavirus lockdown.

The developer removed four homes from its plans after critics said they would prevent buses accessing a proposed new station at Deepcar, should passenger services resume as is hoped on the Don Valley railway line between Sheffield city centre and Stocksbridge.

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Up to three passenger trains an hour would run between Sheffield city centre and Stocksbridge under plans to revive part of the old Woodhead railway line

But the Don Valley Railway group said this agreement was only in place for five years, meaning that should no deal to reopen the route be agreed in that time, building could go ahead on the plot, extinguishing for good any prospect of the station reopening.

The group, which is awaiting the outcome of an application to the Government’s Restoring Your Railway Fund, said it was denied the chance to speak at the online meeting.

Its chairman, Chris Bell, said that if the funding bid proves unsuccessful ‘I doubt that the planning permission will prevent houses being built blocking off the access route to the preferred station site ahead of another attempt to reopen the line’.

The group also claimed that Network Rail’s recommendation that an area suitable to meet station needs up to 2033 was not considered by councillors.

Responding to the group’s concerns, Stocksbridge and Upper Don ward councillor Julie Grocutt said: ‘no one would like to see this railway line opened more than me’ but that ‘it’s down to the Government to provide the funding now’.

Councillors voted through the plans despite some raising concerns about the lack of a community hub, no affordable housing and a footbridge into ancient woodland being scrapped.

MP Miriam Cates, in conjunction with Don Valley Railway and Sheffield City Region, has applied for a share of £500 million to help restore passenger services on the line.

Up to three trains an hour could run on the route, under initial proposals, calling at Deepcar, Oughtibridge, Wadsley Bridge and Neepsend.

The Star has contacted Bloor Homes.