Video: Protesters demand end to M1 development at ancient Smithy Wood

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PROTESTERS staged a demonstration today in a bid to save ancient woodland near Sheffield that has been earmarked for a new motorway service station.

Developers have submitted controversial plans to build the facility at 12th Century Smithy Wood, at junction 35 of the M1. If approved, it will include an 80-bedroom hotel, filling stations, 639 parking spaces, shops and a food court.

Protesters gather at Smithy Wood

Protesters gather at Smithy Wood

Developers say a new service station is needed to adhere to Government guidelines on “maximum drive times”.

But local residents and the Woodland Trust have applied for the site to be protected as a village green. Today, local MP Angela Smith joined protesters at the site, which is designated as a Local Wildlife Site within Sheffield’s Green Belt.

Smithy Wood is a haven for woodland plants, fungi and butterflies, and species of bird including the red listed Song Thrush and amber listed Dunnock, Bullfinch and Stock Dove.

Ms Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: “This application is a cynical attempt to overcome objections to the proposed destruction of ancient woodland by making use of ‘offsetting’. Local people, however, will not be easily bought and will fight hard to defend this precious habitat. Once lost, this woodland can never be replaced.”