Council warns green fields may be targeted for future housing

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THE amount of land earmarked for new housing developments in Sheffield is set to be increased as the council develops its new plan for the city.

Sheffield City Council has warned it will be considering setting aside greenfield sites and reviewing the extent of the green belt.

The authority says the move, which is likely to face vocal 
opposition from communities across the district, is the only 
way it can make sure it retains 
a say in where homes are built 
and protect key sites from building.

New planning rules mean councils have to show they have identified enough land to meet housing needs over the next five years in a document known as the “local plan”.

If the local plan is thought to be unrealistic, it can make it easier for developers to challenge the council when planning decisions go against them.

Leigh Bramall, council cabinet member for business, skills 
and development, said: “We have spoken to the planning inspectorate and he has been clear that 
our current allocation of sites does not go anywhere near far enough.

“We need to identify even more sites for housing.

“This is an issue facing every local authority across the country and here in Sheffield we want to make sure we are in charge of our own destiny.

“Put simply, if we do nothing then our entire green belt could be under threat.

“If we do not identify enough land then developers could ask to build in places where we do not want them to. We don’t want this to happen. We want to try and protect as much of Sheffield’s green space as we can.”

The latest Government figures suggest around 100,000 new homes will be needed across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire by 2030.

Sheffield will need to negotiate with neighbouring councils to decide how many homes are needed in each district.

Coun Bramall added: “We need to look at the whole of the city region, not just Sheffield, so the new Local Plan will see us working with neighbouring authorities to meet demand.

“We also want to protect as much of Sheffield’s green space as we can. With the pressure on land there are some hard choices to make.

“This land is not going to be built on overnight; it’s about having a plan of land supply for the future.”

The authority will develop initial ideas in the coming months before asking the public to make their views known in the summer.