Saving Smithy Wood

7th Apr 2014

The outline planning application for a motorway service area at junction 35 of the M1, Smithy Wood, is a complex case and we have a technical role to play.

Our current position is as follows:

  1. Sheffield City Council should not determine the application while the Village Green application is live, because it pre-empts the decision on that application.
  2. The need case for the MSA is weak and does not provide exceptional circumstances to develop in the Green Belt or to damage ancient woodland.
  3. The economic case is weak because there is plenty of employment land allocated nearby, which benefits from Enterprise Zone status and would not require loss of Green Belt or ancient woodland.
  4. The existing permission at junction 33 disproves the applicant's position that junction 35 is the only viable junction for an MSA.
  5. We need to encourage SCC to build a strong case for refusal that will stand up at appeal.
  6. The mitigation proposals don't stack up because you can't replace or offset ancient woodland loss, and the mitigation plan would be scuppered by HS2. That decisions on HS2 are imminent is another reason for non-determination of the application, because the mitigation plan's veracity is dependent on the land remaining available for woodland in perpetuity.