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Dozens of citizens let down as ‘exceptional’ number of decisions deferred

Planning and Highways committee meeting
Planning and Highways committee meeting

Dozens of Sheffield citizens left a public meeting after a number of important items were pushed back, in some cases for a second time. 

The public seats of Sheffield Town Hall’s conference room were packed out by people wanting to share their views and hear decisions on a number of important plans at a Highways and Planning committee meeting. 

Planning officers Lucy Bond and Chris Heeley

Planning officers Lucy Bond and Chris Heeley

But an ‘exceptional’ number of the items were pushed back after officers failed to present accurate reports or finish assessments.

The main issues pushed back were about a huge student development on Sylvester Street, a controversial battle over plans to build a house on Wheel Lane and plans to extend Totley Primary School.

Chair of the committee, Councillor Dianne Hurst, Richmond ward, said it may take extra weeks or months before decisions are finally settled on the applications. 

She said: “They will come back when we have got it right. We can’t consider things unless you have got the correct information and I’m very clear about that.”

Chris Heeley, planning officer, said it was an “exceptional” number of deferrals and explained the reasons for each.

He said: “Incorrect information in the report on Totley Primary School that refers to the traffic regulation process having not been completed - it has so that is incorrect because of that we cannot decide on it today.

“In regards to Wheel Lane, Grenoside, on further examination of the amendments that have been submitted it is clear there are significant discrepancies between the proposed site plan and the position of the neighbouring property. It’s not possible to make a decision with those contradictions today, it needs further assessment and clarification.

“Finally, the Sylvester Street application is still pending resolution of the affordable housing situation. So, again that is being withdrawn.

“Apologies to anyone who made a special journey to be here today.”

Paul Salt, a teacher, stood up to speak briefly to the committee about the Wheel Lane development, despite it having been withdrawn, but was interrupted by Coun Hurst.

He said: “I hear what you are saying about getting things right - all I am saying is the plans keep changing, and changing, and changing and it’s not getting anywhere.”

The other members of the public applauded him for speaking out. 

Most of the public left after the announcement and the remaining items on the agenda were discussed.