New hope for Loxley Valley
A new initiative to find a future for the derelict Hepworth’s 'brickworks' site in the Loxley Valley has begun.
Sheffield City Council and the site’s new owners, Patrick Properties, are working with countryside charity CPRE to engage the local community in preparing planning proposals for the huge site, which has lain dormant since the 1990s.
The process began with a productive workshop at Langland’s Garden Centre in December 2018, with an invited audience of community groups, environmental groups, Parish councillors and local businesses. This will pave the way for further engagement and a full public consultation in early summer.
Hepworths vacated the site in the early 1990s, leaving a number of large factory buildings that are now unsafe having fallen into disrepair. However, there are some cottages still in use at the site, as well as a millpond, extensive woodlands, and a bowling club. Although the site is secure, antisocial behaviour has occurred on site in recent months, causing considerable concern and nuisance to the local residents. Bovis Homes drew up proposals for a scheme of 500 homes in 2005, but a planning application was never submitted.
Paul Martin, Managing Director of site owner Patrick Properties, said, “We are preparing a unique scheme which complements the surrounding countryside and makes use of a derelict brownfield site. We believe that we can do this with a smaller number of houses than was previously proposed. We are keen to have a good relationship with the community and create a great place to live, work and play. We’ve commissioned URBED, a planning and design consultancy with a great reputation, to prepare a scheme. The workshop was extremely helpful for us to identify the important issues we need to consider before we start work on the proposals.”
CPRE’s planning officer, Andrew Wood, said, “Everyone in Bradfield and the Loxley Valley cares about this site, and we want to see it come back to life in a positive way that’s good for the community and the environment. We see it as a unique site that needs a unique solution. We’re delighted that the Council and the landowner are opening up a genuine conversation about this.”
Participants at the workshop raised a wide range of issues, including the need to enhance the woodland character of the valley, manage flood risk, and ensure that new development can be accessed without putting additional strain on the road network. A report of the workshop will be published shortly, and open engagement with the public will begin in the coming months.
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