‘Never have we questioned local democracy more’ Sheffield Council reject house

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall

Residents clapped when Sheffield councillors voted, almost unanimously, against a plans to build a house ‘as high as the tallest diving board in ponds forge’ in a row of bungalows.

A group of several neighbours, who live on Wheel Lane, Grenoside, attended a planning and highways scrutiny meeting to voice their concerns about the plans and the ‘undemocratic’ handling of the application.

Cheryl Hall, one of the residents, gave an impassioned speech, in which she said: “Concerns from local residents about design have been fully assessed, and dismissed, rejected and overruled.

“Never have we questioned local democracy more, or doubted whether justice is at the heart of our local government.”

The planning application was illegally approved earlier this year with issues over the green belt, the residents took the council to court and won.

Since then, the plans have been re-submitted 16 times, making changes only when the neighbours have spoken out.

Mark Barlow, who lives next door to where the proposed site would be, said: “Every time they have put plans in we have had to go back to the council to tell them it’s not right because the planning officers aren’t doing that.

“The process is supposed to be democratic, the developer is supposed to put an application in that is in-keeping with the council’s and the national planning policy and at every stage the developer has failed and the council’s planning department has failed to police it in the right way.

“There are 12 bungalows in a row, how is that in keeping with the streetscene?”

The proposed house is 9.38m high from ground level, three times higher than the average bungalow.

Mr Barlow said: “I live in the bungalow next door, it will overshadow my house. When we have put our objections in, not one of our objections has been addressed. Every time they have put plans in we have had to go back to them because they are not right.

“How can they recommend for approval an application that they haven’t policed properly? It’s only because of the collective work of the neighbours and our advisers that anything has changed.”

In total, there was 68 objections, including from an MP, councillors and residents, some of which Ms Hall said took a week to be registered on the site.

The application to build a five-bedroom house was submitted by Oakleaf Architecture. In a council report, officers said: “In this assessment the proposal represents good design. It is therefore considered that the proposed would reflect the character of the area and the proposed density can be accepted.”.

But at the meeting, councillors agreed with residents and rejected the application, with only one voting in favour of the plans.

Councillor Andrew Sangar, representative for Fulwood ward, said: “I’m voting against this, we need to reassess the plans. It clearly it doesn’t fit with the row of bungalows.”