People power wins the day as controversial homes plan axed

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DEVELOPERS have withdrawn a highly controversial planning application to build new houses in what is currently the “paddock” of a house on the edge of Sheffield, after opposition from neighbours and countryside campaigners.

Objections to the proposed two new houses and triple garage in the curtilage of a property in Stocks Green Court, Totley, poured in from 242 members of the public, as well as ward councillor Colin Ross and organisations including the Totley Residents Association and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The applicant, through agent Sarah Bolsover, had submitted plans for a pair of Elizabethan-style homes of “traditional appearance”, with four and five bedrooms, along with a large detached garage with room for three vehicles.

The development would have been accessed from the drive which is currently used for 7 Stocks Green Court, while the new houses would be lived in by members of the applicant’s family.

City planners in Sheffield had recommended that councillors refuse planning permission for the development at a meeting next Monday, February 27.

However, the application has now been withdrawn prior to that meeting.

The decision has been welcomed by Coun Ross, who said yesterday: “Clearly the officers’ report, based on the massive public outcry, persuaded the developer that they had no chance of getting it passed.

“The matter of the principle of this goes back to an anomaly in the 1990s, when this thin strip of land should have been included in the green belt.

“In the revised Sheffield Development Framework it was proposed that it should be included in the green belt – but at the moment it isn’t.”

He added: “Clearly they wanted to get the application in and passed before it went into the green belt.”

Coun Ross said one of the biggest concerns for neighbours was the size of the proposed development.

He said: “This is a very large building that’s proposed, which would be visible from the Peak District National Park.

“It’s really important to the residents of Totley, but also the whole of Sheffield, that we preserve our golden frame, which is the green belt around the city.

“The worry is that, if the development was allowed on the fringe of the green belt, it would be a toehold for further applications.”

Objections to the application had come from groups including Sheffield and Peak Against City Encroachment (SPACE), which said the new buildings would “impact adversely on the National Park, the green belt and the area of high landscape value”.

Meanwhile, the CPRE said the houses and garage would be “visible from Totley Moor and Big Moor in the national park”.

Members of the public, who signed petitions against the development plans and submitted hundreds of letters of objection, said the scheme is “at odds with national policy seeking to prevent overdevelopment of gardens and neighbourhoods”.

Other opponents said the homes would not be “in keeping with the character and nature of surrounding buildings” and “would result in overshadowing.”

In their assessment of the application, city planners said the development would have had a “significant adverse effect on the character of the green belt.”

In the planners’ report, which was scheduled to go before next week’s committee meeting, the officers said: “The proposal is a substantial building rising to two storeys in height and featuring a significant pitched roof to enable accommodation space within the roof.

“The houses would lie in extremely close proximity to the green belt boundary and it is considered that they would present a large and highly conspicuous presence.”

The report adds: “A possible family relationship between the future occupants of the proposal and those of 7 Stocks Green Court is likely upon first occupation.

“However, this cannot be considered as a mitigating factor as the planning assessment must take into account a future scenario where such a relationship may not exist.”

Advising councillors to refuse planning permission, the officers said: “It is considered that the proposal represents an inappropriate development of the site, giving rise to serious concerns regarding privacy, overbearing, and overlooking towards existing dwellings.”

Ms Bolsover was not available for comment yesterday.