Save Sheffield's Countryside

Sheffield's Green Belt countryside is at risk

Sheffield Green Belt at risk map 290319

CPRE has been at the forefront of shaping and defending Sheffield’s countryside since the 1930s. Without our work, Sheffield would have sprawled many more miles along its river valleys and out into precious countryside. It would also have been a less attractive and less healthy city, because the Green Belt has brought the countryside into town and created the ‘Outdoor City’. 

After years of waiting, when communities do eventually get to see the draft Local Plan they will only have six weeks to comment on it. This hardly seems fair, especially given the delays to date. We think we need a much more engaged conversation, and that need starting now.

We have said all along that we recognise some changes to the Green Belt will be necessary, and our concern is to make sure those changes are for the better. If land is removed from the Green Belt and made available for housing, we want to know three things. Will it result in the right types of homes being built in the right places, which the people who need them can afford? Will it help the re-use of the acres of derelict and under-used land in the city? And will it enhance the connection between Sheffield residents and the countryside that they hold dear?

Click here to add your name to our petition and sign up for campaign updates.

What we really need to see is a map, to get a clear picture of what is at stake. To fill the current vacuum of information, CPRE have now produced our own threat assessment. Our map shows our best estimate of where land in the countryside around Sheffield is likely to be under pressure for development. We expect some of this land to be proposed by the City Council in its draft Local Plan. Much more of it is at risk from landowners pushing for extra land to be allocated. Bear in mind that land with permission for housing can sell for over a hundred times the price of agricultural land, so there are huge financial rewards for those who can get their sites allocated.

We will also be writing to all the Local Election candidates asking them to recognise that tackling Sheffield’s startling social inequalities must be at the heart of the Local Plan that councillors vote for, and that protecting the countryside people hold dear is just as important to that aim as new buildings and infrastructure.

When we finally see the draft Local Plan, our consultation means we’ll be able to comment on it with a real understanding of what people care about. Our campaign message is clear: we can meet people’s needs both for housing and for green, open space and without losing precious countryside. We are gathering evidence to inform the Sheffield councillors who will make the decision to release green field land for housing developments. We believe that the people of Sheffield value its green space and wish their councillors to protect it wherever possible, especially when there are so many suitable brownfield sites and buildings within the city, which could be utilised first.

We're building a war chest to fight this.

Please support our 'Save Sheffield's Green Belt' campaign here:

We can meet people's needs for housing and for green, open space without losing precious countryside.

If you think Sheffield should only grow outwards if it is first making the best possible use of land and buildings within the city, please take action:

  • Click here to add your name to our petition and sign up for campaign updates (via our email addresses at Friends of the Peak District)
  • Click here to email the Leader of the Council, Julie Dore, to voice your concerns. You may choose to copy and paste the following text.

Dear Councillor Dore,

I’m very concerned that the forthcoming Local Plan will unnecessarily damage Sheffield’s Green Belt by allowing developers to build executive homes in our finest countryside, which will not meet the real need for more affordable homes in sustainable locations.

I’m particularly concerned that local greenspace close to where I live [insert area] may be affected, as CPRE have indicated. [option to add reason(s) why developing this area would be damaging]

I am asking you and the Council to reconsider your plans so that we can have both the homes that are needed to underpin Sheffield’s future growth but without damaging the huge asset of the countryside on our doorstep.

I would be grateful if you could tell me what housing is allocated for [insert name of area] in the Local Plan.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely


Please support our 'Save Sheffield's Green Belt' campaign here:

Archive news

1. Key issues for the future of Sheffield and its countryside

Following the release of new national data showing increasing threats to green belt from private housing, we have set out a blueprint for providing the homes that Sheffield needs but without needlessly sacrificing beautiful local countryside. Read about it here or download the report here.

2. Sheffield's Green Belt Review

We recently responded to the first stage of consultations on Sheffield's new Local Plan. The document, 'Citywide Growth Options to 2034', focuses on where to locate around 43,000 new homes in Sheffield. There is a real danger that a big slice of this new development will take place in the Green Belt that currently protects the beautiful countryside around the city.

It's very important to build the right types of homes in the right places for the people who need them, at prices they can afford to buy or rent. Sheffield City Council has commissioned groundbreaking research to show that regenerating and remodelling inner urban areas like Neepsend and Attercliffe could provide many thousands of homes at the same time as tackling dereliction and under-used brownfield sites. Achieving this would show real vision and leadership and be great for the future of Sheffield.

Yet the consultation document talked down the amount of new housing those areas could provide, and looked to a number of large bites into the Green Belt to make up the numbers. Some of these bites are likely to be around Norton and along the Upper Don Valley from Oughtibridge to Stocksbridge. The trouble is that those areas are not well-served by public transport, they're a long way from central Sheffield and they risk filling up the green gaps between built-up areas that help to make Sheffield the Green City.

The Green Belt is important for keeping open the green spaces and the connection to the countryside that people value so much about Sheffield. It's also essential to give proper focus to development in inner urban areas, where it is closer to jobs and services and helps to regenerate run-down neighbourhoods. Relaxing the Green Belt makes it much harder to do that, so it's crucial that the Sheffield Local Plan doesn't make building in the Green Belt an easy option.

3. door

Green Belts are one of the most powerful and effective tools for protecting the countryside. Green Belt land is designated by law to

Green Belt land isn't necessarily conventionally beautiful countryside or especially significant for nature conservation. But it is land that is precious because it is open and undeveloped - a place where built development can only take place in the most exceptional circumstances. We believe that if Green Belt land is derelict or unsightly then it should be turned into attractive countryside that will be valuable to people living in nearby towns and cities.

4. South Yorkshire's Green Belt

It's taken decades of hard campaigning to get the South Yorkshire Green Belt. Without it, Sheffield would have sprawled out into the Peak District in the west. It would have merged eastwards with Rotherham, eventually engulfing Barnsley and Doncaster. However, South Yorkshire's Green Belt is under increasing pressure from developers, and we're constantly campaigning to protect and improve it. 

5. Full Green Belt for Doncaster

South Yorkshire's Green Belt still isn't complete. Land to the east of Doncaster isn't designated as Green Belt so it is still vulnerable to development. We're really worried about the huge rise in urban sprawl - including an increase in proposals for housing, storage and distribution developments - down the eastern boundary of Doncaster. We want the Green Belt to be extended all the way around Doncaster, and this is what we have been campaigning for.

 CPRE SY 2008 - Doncaster Green Belt Map copy2

Join CPRE's national campaign for Green Belts. 

    • protect the open character of the countryside next to urban areas
    • focus and stimulate regeneration in neglected sites within cities and towns
    • stop towns merging into each other
    • protect the countryside setting of historic cities and towns