Developers launch appeal after councillors block plans to build homes on Yorkshire wildlife haven

Developers have launched an appeal after councillors overwhelmingly blocked plans to build new homes on a Sheffield wildlife haven.

Owlthorpe Fields in Sheffield

Campaigners were delighted when councillors refused to allow Avant Homes to build 74 new properties on Owlthorpe Fields. It could have paved the way for hundreds more properties.

Councillors said the homes would damage ecology, create traffic congestion and was a piecemeal development.

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But residents face a new battle as the developer has appealed and it will be a difficult fight as the land was designated as housing by Sheffield Council many years ago.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts had tried to broker a compromise with the developers and residents drew up an alternative scheme for a S20 wildlife corridor which would link a number of sites along the Ochre Dyke valley, starting with Owlthorpe Fields and ending at Holbrook Washlands.

Christine Rippon, of Owlthorpe Fields Action Group, said: “Appeal documents quietly appeared on the planning portal of the council website.

“The appeal is highly controversial, not least because 10 out of 12 councillors decided against the application, with two abstentions. The overwhelming views of the local community are well known on this issue, but are still being ignored.

“The developers are making their appeal in the face of growing calls from the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, People’s Trust for Endangered Species and many other voices, including Sheffield Council, to act urgently on climate change at a local level as well as nationally and globally.

“We need to mitigate flood risk, air pollution and protect green open spaces for the benefit of local communities, wildlife and biodiversity. Future generations will not thank us if we fail to fight so we will fight the appeal but we need to raise funds to pay for legal assistance.

“We want to thank those who have already made generous donations but we will need more to pay for expensive legal fees. Every donation counts.”

To donate, click here.

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Thank you

James Mitchinson