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  • Sheffielders: planning proposal for huge 300-home development in Loxley valley
  • Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    If you’re familiar with Sheffield, I’m sure you’ll know of the beautiful Loxley valley. It’s a green corridor that runs from Malin Bridge out to Low Bradfield and the Peak District.

    A planning proposal has just been submitted for a new township of up to 300 ‘modern and aspirational’ homes based on the site of the long-abandoned Old Refractory works.

    It is now almost 30 years since there was any significant activity in the old factories. Since then the valley has become a site for peaceful recreation, and the old buildings have become largely screened by trees.

    There is only a short window to comment on the application – until June 1st – and if you have time I would please urge you to do so here:
    https://planningapps.sheffield.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=Q98XULNYKTG00&activeTab=summary

    You need to create an account on the Sheffield planning portal (doesn’t take long) and then you can post a comment directly on the site.

    If you have time, you could also write to your local councillors and/or MP. It’s dead easy to do that here (just put your postcode in and then compose your message): https://www.writetothem.com/

    There is some more information about the proposal here:
    https://friendsoftheloxleyvalley.com/news/

    Thank you very much.

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    2300 proposed houses around my village, effectively swallowing up all of the green between us and the next town. The area is also a flood plain.

    I’m afraid that it is the way of things at the moment.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    Harry_the_Spider, that’s a real shame, but it doesn’t always have to be the way.

    If enough people are opposed and make their views known, local councillors will balance up the extra revenue from new builds vs the chance of not getting re-elected.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    “huge”

    300

    I know its all relative but….

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    It’s going on everywhere – nobody listens to anyone. I live in Harrogate (right on the edge within minutes of countryside in the Pannal Ash area) yet they are building hundreds of houses with more on the way. And it’s not the only place – right up Skipton Road, around Starbeck, on the old BT site near the cricket ground, hundreds underway in Knaresborough with additional villages being considered too.

    I really don’t know who is going to buy all these new homes but clearly the developers must think there is a market.

    I have given up giving a toss.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    “huge”

    300

    I know its all relative but….

    In my defence I spent 20+ years of my childhood/early adulthood in a village that totalled ~350 homes, so it does feel rather large from my perspective!

    Premier Icon DezB
    Full Member

    As scotroutes says. 300 is absolutely tiny compared to what they’re building round here.
    And my local thicket is being turned into a reservoir! Green field sites are just getting swallowed up everywhere.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    As someone who works on the edges of the political sphere, I can only stress it really is worth writing to your MPs and councillors – if they hear an opinion from a large enough body of people, it can genuinely sway their thinking.

    Premier Icon poolman
    Free Member

    Councils are obliged to find x new homes so any green space is up for grabs. We have a similar proposal and managed to stave off the inevitable by a mixture of…

    Sssi located in one corner
    Newts found and proved by survey
    Poor access opposite a school, it’s an accident waiting to happen
    Access for emergency vehicles less than legal min
    Designated green space

    Problem is if you ‘re trying to sell a house in the area and Google the road all you get is the planning proposal. It’s been on the cards for years though so will probably happen.

    Funnily enough the above is n England, I objected to 2 in London and they were binned on fairly similar grounds.

    Hi fin btw tapping away on the terrace.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    Cheers poolman, it’s nice to hear that the ‘little man’ can occasionally win out over developers!

    (Also, very good of you to fight the good fight in England while you’re out sunning yourself in Spain 😉 )

    Maybe I will get out my pond dipping net and hunt for newts…

    Premier Icon csb
    Full Member

    Such a shame to lose locally valued green space. Hardly a lack of it in Sheffield though.

    But we’re told people want to buy homes. And metro mayors and councils want the economic development in their patch, not in next door’s.

    If it’s a brownfield (ex industrial) site you haven’t got much hope of stopping it.

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Full Member

    300 doesn’t seem very large, must be said – sounds similar to where I live, and I can easily walk from one end to the other in under 10 minutes. And if it’s being built on an old industrial site it doesn’t sound unreasonable. My only concern would be the increase in traffic locally.

    Premier Icon ads678
    Full Member

    Its a brown field site full of derelict shity buildings, if we can’t build on those where do you proposed we build?? It’ll be a lovely spot once its done. All sounds a bit NIMBY to me….

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    Brownfield site:

    null

    (also the proposed footprint of the development is quite a bit larger than the old factory)

    I don’t have any issue with being called a NIMBY. When did fighting for things you care about become a bad thing?

    The developer is proposing to sell off the land/develop the site in 50-house plots over 7 years, circumventing any requirements to put in place new community or transport infrastructure. They’re also not proposing any eco-friendly power generation or building techniques.

    Premier Icon ads678
    Full Member

    Sorry but old factory = brownfield site. Just cos it also has trees on it doesn’t change that.

    Also this location plan shows lots more old building and brownfield stuff than your image. I know its shit having stuff being built near where you live but its gonna happen on site like this, get on bored and try to get some stuff out of the developers for the local area.

    Looks like all the trees are pretty much being retained as well.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    Thank you for engaging ads678 – that’s the main thing.

    I believe the plans have been drawn up based on the original footprint of the factory, some of which I think may have been demolished to ground level in intervening years. As you can see it’s all screened by trees, so it’s impossible to tell from the site itself given where the footpath goes.

    You’re right of course about trying to influence the development for the better as well as prevent it. My response to the council stresses that if any houses are approved, they must be built to passivhaus standards – given the climate change crisis and massive flooding we had in Sheffield less than 6 months ago, it would beggar belief if they proceed without any real commitment to environmentally-sensitive building.

    Premier Icon dannyh
    Full Member

    We’ve managed to fight off, for the time being, an unsustainable, money grabbing, opportunist spiv who buys up farmland from struggling farmers and sell the options on to developers. I know it is a temporary victory, but hopefully we can keep fighting this off for as long as possible.

    The key things I think helped were:

    1. Large audiences of locals in whatever forum. Be it physically at meetings, letter writing or doing stuff like traffic surveys.

    2. Letter writing taking notice of the reasons you can and cannot object for. They will use any excuse to discount a letter if it contains nine valid points and one invalid one.

    3. Rich local NIMBYs. Much as I hate to admit it, this was important. Forming temporary alliances of convenience with people who would like to burn me at the stake for riding a mountain bike. We had a couple of these who, to be fair, spent thousands of their own cash on legal advisers who knew the games to play. One, irony of ironies, used to be an exec with a building firm. Yes, I know. Never overlook self interest. Remember with these areas, once it is gone it is gone.

    4. Keeping awareness in the community up. The first time is never the last time with developers. They will come back over and over again. The will knock a handful of houses off each time and hope that a % of the original complainants will fall away through natural apathy. Their first submission is usually what they really think they can get away with plus x%.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    Thank you dannyh, that is excellent advice. Sounds like you have a good chance of keeping the developers at bay in your area. “An enemy of my enemy is my friend” or something like that 😀

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    If enough people are opposed and make their views known, local councillors will balance up the extra revenue from new builds vs the chance of not getting re-elected.

    But buy heaping it all in one or two places they are going to lose some of the local votes, but gain loads from other areas in the constituency that are being spared.

    There is massive opposition and I’ve been to the public meetings, but it looks like we are stuck with it. Most of the area was underwater for all of February and the flooding was so bad that they had to close a lane on the motorway so It isn’t exactly an ideal spot for building, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    In most of the local Cambridge Planning controversies, the council has sided with locals but the Secretary for State has just over ruled it and said ‘go ahead’…

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    Most of the area was underwater for all of February and the flooding was so bad that they had to close a lane on the motorway so It isn’t exactly an ideal spot for building, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

    Good God. I thought this winter just gone might have stuck slightly longer in peoples’ memories… houses on stilts maybe?

    Premier Icon poolman
    Free Member

    Cheers fin the 2 London ones were next to my flats and we got the planning rejected by everyone affected emailing in their own words the key defences…ie, access, school, rat run and amazingly the expression ‘croydonisation of North Kingston’.

    The local opposition was whipped up by posters on lampposts with the architect’s impression of the building. It had to be built high as the developer had paid so much for the land. The social element was hidden away round the back it was a joke.

    Anyway it was binned but I am sure they will be back.

    The green belt one in the north is on going, new houses have to be built somewhere – look up the cheapest house in Cornwall, lakes, iow…its pretty much 200k so supply side has to be fixed.

    Keep well, be aware the landowner is in for a lottery win pay out and and developers are good at what they do, I think they just know they will win say x% of their proposals.

    Premier Icon dannyh
    Full Member

    houses on stilts maybe?

    Nah, just market them in the summer.

    Bit like the estate agent who rushes people through a viewing in London in less than five minutes every time. Because the Express train that passes 18″ below the living room runs every five and a half minutes.

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    houses on stilts maybe?

    Flood resilient homes. The idea is you accept they will flood. You build the house to be minimally affected.

    Non living quarters downstairs. Electrics from above. Replace gypsum plasterboard with similar products that don’t dissintegrate when soaked. Water resilient flooring etc.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Good luck with this. Some good advice given.

    Local to me a development was stopped by public pressure

    Premier Icon CountZero
    Full Member

    4. Keeping awareness in the community up. The first time is never the last time with developers. They will come back over and over again. The will knock a handful of houses off each time and hope that a % of the original complainants will fall away through natural apathy. Their first submission is usually what they really think they can get away with plus x%.

    This happened some years back in a tiny village about five miles from me, and which I have family connections to. There’s an old paper mill in the village, which is right in the bottom of a valley, with a river running past the mill site. Access is only via single track roads with no passing places, nearest schools and shops are miles away, but a developer wanted to put 9 executive style houses in there! There’s only twenty houses in the village, a few of the residents have to park cars by the side of the road leaving barely enough room for a car to squeeze past.
    It went to public enquiry, which I went to, and the plan was eventually thrown out.
    Developer came back with a revised plan – for nineteen houses!
    Thing is, the development was basically on a floodplain, plus it being an old paper mill, there are settling ponds around with highly toxic materials accumulated since the beginning of last century, so remedial action would have been hideously expensive, plus there would have been increased risk of materials being disturbed and polluting the river, which has trout in it.
    Fortunately that plan was also thrown out, the whole site including existing buildings bought by a local woman and it’s now being used by local people for a variety of things – a woman and her son make marquees and do things like sail repairs, there’s someone who rebuilds VW campers, someone else is a dress designer…
    That one had a happy ending, but they’re rare, sadly.
    My connection is my granddad and great-granddad both worked in that papermill, and I have family buried in the little churchyard, so it was very personal for me.

    This is a photo of the papermill staff outside the canteen, probably in the late 20’s, early 30’s, my granddad is in the back row, third from the right.

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