Last-ditch attempt to save city’s green field sites

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CAMPAIGNERS are set to launch a last-ditch attempt to stop green sites across a Yorkshire city being allocated for housing ahead of a decision due next week.

Sheffield Council will be asked to approve a new local plan at a full meeting on Wednesday, including a map which identifies green sites suitable for future housing development.

The proposals have already been endorsed by the Labour-run authority’s ruling cabinet, but every member of the council must vote on the idea before it can be adopted.

Greenfield sites in the Fulwood, Norton, Woodhouse, Oughtibridge and Worrall areas have all been identified for housing after council officers updated the current plan which is 14 years old.

But opposition campaigns have sprung up in every community, many led by members of the council’s opposition Liberal Democrat group.

Accusations have been levelled that areas represented by Labour councillors have seen green spaces protected, while more affluent areas represented by Lib Dems have been targeted for potential development.

In Fulwood, local campaigners have voiced concern that new housing will increase traffic congestion and damage the local environment, which is a “haven for wildlife.

Coun Sue Alston, who is leading the protest, said: “Lots of local residents have objected to the use of this land for housing.

“Not only is it a loved green space, but a haven for local wildlife, which could be lost if the council forces through its plans.

“That’s not to mention the increased congestion or the additional pressure on already squeezed local services.

“What’s most disappointing is that, while Labour bosses have clustered sites in certain areas of the city, they have protected green sites in their own favoured areas.”

Council officers and Labour members have denied the “favoured areas” charge and said the demand for land had changed since the last local plan was drawn up.

If approved, the plans will be submitted to the Government for examination before they are formally adopted.