Call to re-think Loxley housing plans
CPRE calls for re-think of Loxley housing plans
Countryside campaigners in Sheffield are urging property developers to rethink plans to build an isolated and unsustainable village on green belt land that borders the Peak District National Park.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) warns that the new settlement on the old Hepworths factory site in the heart of the Loxley valley could become an unsustainable enclave, pushing up the city’s carbon footprint as villagers travel elsewhere in their cars to meet their everyday needs.
Development company Patrick Properties have announced plans to build a “sustainable new community” of up to 350 houses on the long-abandoned factory site along the River Loxley, less than half a mile from Sheffield’s border with the national park.
They faced angry opposition from local residents when they unveiled their plans at a one-day public exhibition at Stannington Community Centre last week.
Patrick say their proposals are the only way of funding a clean-up of derelict refractory works that were abandoned by Hepworths in the early 1990s.
But the CPRE say they share residents’ concerns and are urging Patrick to scale down their plans, so that they are more in keeping with a sensitive green belt site, and less dependent on car journeys to reach local services like shops, schools and doctors’ surgeries.
“Patrick Properties asked for residents’ views; now we encourage them to listen to them and to heed their concerns,” said Andy Tickle, Head of Campaigns at CPRE South Yorkshire.
“This large new housing estate would fundamentally change the character of the Loxley valley, often for the worse” he said.
“Whilst the proposals could improve some aspects of the site itself, the wider impacts on local communities and the National Park have been either under-estimated or ignored.”
Dr Tickle said there were some welcome features to the draft scheme, including fast broadband workspace, extensive tree planting and enhanced rights of way alongside the River Loxley, but he feared many crucial issues would not be covered in the application.
“So far there is little commitment to ensuring the development is climate-friendly,” he said.
“We’re also concerned that the development will be very car dependent and few measures have been proposed to alleviate traffic impacts in the valley and beyond.”
The CPRE have been in dialogue with Patrick Properties and Sheffield City Council about the site for over a year and had agreed with the council that only an award-winning, visionary scheme would be good enough for this sensitive green belt location.
CPRE have stressed throughout that an outline planning application, where much of the final detail is omitted, is unacceptable.
“When we are facing a climate emergency with radical carbon cuts needed by 2030, this development must be very low carbon from the start,” said Dr Tickle. “The current proposals are seriously deficient in this respect and on many other key issues.”
The pre-application consultation will last until Wednesday January 8th – see www.newhomesinloxley.co.uk - after which Patrick Properties intend to submit an outline planning application to the City Council.