Green belt college housing plan back on table

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Details of controversial plans to build almost 70 houses on the site of a derelict college in a rural valley will be put before planners next week with opponents still protesting against the plans.

The site of Loxley College, in Stannington, Sheffield, overlooks the Loxley Valley but the buildings were abandoned several years ago and have been vandalised.

Sheffield College, which owns the site, has entered into an agreement with developer Ben Bailey Homes and outlilne planning consent for 71 houses has already been granted.

Now details of the types of houses have been submitted to Sheffield Council and planning officers will tell councillors at a meeting on Tuesday that the scheme is acceptable.

But more than 30 representations have been received by the authority voicing concerns ranging from loss of views across the valley to pressure on school places and other community facilities.

Developers have now revised the number of houses to be built to 69, and a large part of the site would be given over to playing fields and children’s play areas.

But the site is in Sheffield’s green belt, and objectors say that despite the state of the college buildings, the “very special circumstances” required to allow building have not been met.

Representations have been received from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), Bradfield Parish Council, Sport England, and three local conservation groups.

In their report to Tuesday’s meeting, planners say: “The principle of demolishing the existing college buildings and developing the site for housing has been established following the grant of outline planning permission in December 2012.

“A thorough and robust assessment was made during the course of the outline planning application regarding the merits of developing this sensitive site.

“It was considered that the re-development of the site did not represent inappropriate development in the green belt.”