Local Plan Issues and Options
consultation response from Sheffield Green Party

October 2020

Table of Contents

Introduction

Spatial strategy

How much housing and where?

Urban densification – but maintaining quality

Shops in the city centre

Neighbourhood centres

Flood management

Transport

Design

Space standards

Energy consumption and generation

Community energy strategy

The carbon cost of construction

Design of Green and open space

Tall buildings

Roof space

Pavement width

Conservation and heritage practice

Re-use, not new-build

Empty homes

Disability access and lifetime homes

The Green Belt and beyond

No building in the Green Belt

Brownfield sites in the Green Belt

Rewilded brownfield sites

Infilling

Greenfield sites

Parks and open spaces

Trees

Biodiversity

Agricultural land and development

How to achieve our “Green View”

Public engagement

Neighbourhood planning

Affordable Housing

Sites for travellers

Supporting Self-build and Community Land Trusts

Assets of community value

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and s.106 agreements

Construction noise and nuisance

Waste from construction

Monitoring and enforcement

 

Introduction

  1. The Climate Emergency has utterly altered the way we need to see city growth and infrastructure. Cities are uniquely placed to help us respond to climate change. With a concentration of population, cities’ buildings, energy and transport account for 62% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
  2. Sheffield Green Party aims to identify Sheffield City Council policies that will tackle the climate emergency; raise the standards of design, development and quality of life of Sheffield people; improve health and job opportunities; and provide homes which are accessible and more affordable. We agree with the statement in the consultative document for the Emerging Sheffield Plan 2020 that we believe in homes that are fit to live in – in an environment that is fit to work in – for many decades to come.
  3. Consequently, Sheffield Green Party wants to see every council policy and decision make a contribution to tackling the climate emergency, including the objective of the city reducing carbon usage as early as possible. Plans and policies should be carbon-audited so that the zero-carbon target by 2030 can be achieved and subsequent carbon targets can also be reached.
  4. Sheffield Green Party recognises the need for new infrastructure, housing, industrial and commercial land, and social facilities in local communities. Traditionally, this has meant increasing work-to-home travel time by expanding the geographical extent of the city. This is dangerous, because it worsens carbon emissions and health inequalities. Instead we believe Sheffield should concentrate less on growing its geography; and instead create more locally and neighbourhood-based economic, social and cultural networks.
  5. Urban planning balances many competing interests, not least those of property against those of society. Better community engagement in planning and development issues will mitigate tension and conflict when balancing social, economic and environmental concerns relating to development.
  6. We recognise there is a balance to be struck in ensuring that good standards of future sustainability and climate change-related considerations do not prevent development happening at all. However, we want to encourage developers with a long-term commitment to the city.  We are aware that some developers will threaten to take their business elsewhere: if so, that is not a reason to foist substandard housing on future generations. Where proposals do not meet important standards, we should not be afraid to refuse them.

 

Spatial strategy

  1. Sheffield must learn from its history in order to address the future.
  2. The city evolved from a series of interconnected districts: not for nothing is it still known as the biggest village in the country. Traditionally, the Little Mester pattern of work meant people living and working in very close proximity.  The industrial revolution and twentieth century planning separated the arenas of “work” and “home,” into dirty industry and planned housing estates, linked by a dependence on motor vehicles.
  3. Time, emotional energy and fuel are consumed through mass transit of thousands of workers. But this leads to poor work-life balance, carbon emissions, air and noise pollution, bad health and entrenched inequality.
  4. We can do better. One thing the coronavirus pandemic has shocked society into realising is that many people can work from home, at least part of the time. Office accommodation is suddenly being seen as obsolete, at least on the scale it once was. People can work from home – but this should not just be an option for a privileged few.
  5. New homes must be capable of facilitating work from home. This means adequate space and light. It means adequate green or open space for mental and physical refreshment to be readily at hand. And it means that local facilities and community space must be located nearby. Many more everyday journeys –if not most – must be possible by foot or cycle.
  6. If new development does not meet these essential goals, it will have failed the city and we cannot afford that.
  7. Overall, spatial strategy should aim to improve patterns of development to meet sustainable transport and energy objectives. Policies addressing all aspects of planning, including construction, housing, energy, transport, food, waste, water, health, the economy and natural habitats, are interconnected.

How much housing and where?

  1. The lack of a 5 year land supply for housing has been exploited by developers in Sheffield, meaning applications which did not conform to local policies have been approved. This has led to planning permission being granted in the wrong locations and unsuitable types of homes being built.
  2. The impact of coronavirus on the economy, housing and student numbers is not certain, so a new analysis needs to take place which identifies the true 5-year supply position in late 2020, and is published every year going forward.
  3. We question the basis on which it is said Sheffield needs 40,000 new homes in the next 15 years, especially in the light of new Government proposals. Analysis by Lichfields[1] in August 2020 shows that current housing requirements in Sheffield are only 2,131 per year (32,000 over 15 years) and only 1,733 per year (26,000 over 15 years) under the new proposals from central Government.
  4. Regardless of the numbers, we need the right type and size of housing. Central and local government targets do not distinguish between student bedsits and executive homes in the drive for housing numbers. As a result, developers’ desire to maximise profits by cramming as many small apartments as possible into a site is fuelled by the incentive for local councils to achieve large numbers of “units” towards its target.  This does nothing to address the need for housing for families, people on lower incomes or those with local community connections.

Urban densification – but maintaining quality

  1. We accept more housing is needed and we believe the best way is to focus on future housing development that can be achieved through higher densities within the City Centre. The concept of a compact city could be considered to be a radius of about 1.5 miles or 30 minutes walking time from the city centre. This encompasses an area where it is more convenient to walk than to drive, and easiest to cycle. The areas below are capable of providing for a very large quantity of housing and related amenities. Because they follow the major rivers of the Sheaf and the Don, they offer opportunities for relatively flat travel, ideally suited to the proper development of high-quality walking and cycling routes.
  2. If so, this would suggest a concentration of new residential districts in:
  • The Neepsend / Penistone Road corridor extending beyond Kelham Island up the River Don as far as Hillfoot Bridge, on both sides of the river
  • The River Don corridor downstream extending as least as far as Norfolk Bridge
  • The River Sheaf corridor as far as Heeley Bottom, alongside Queens Road / Olive Grove Road / East bank Road area.

 

  1. Other areas of Attercliffe, Carbrook, Darnall and towards Tinsley that are well-served by the tram and bus corridor, and with potential for new, safe, river or canal-side, segregated cycle and walking routes, also offer potential for large-scale housing development
  2. To make this work, these districts must not become a series of blocks of flats beside large roads. We set out our views on design standards below. They must only be built with suitable amenities, including shops, services and open green space.

Shops in the city centre

  1. On-line shopping has altered the use of the city centre. There remain significant quantities of usable accommodation above existing shops in the city centre. Policies should promote use of these for residential accommodation, which will in turn support the viability of shops below.

Neighbourhood centres

  1. For areas further out from the city centre, Sheffield Green Party believes in maintaining and enhancing the current emphasis on distinct district and local centres. The approach to densification for the central area should be applied rigorously, at a suitably smaller scale, to local centres. We would like to see high-quality but concentrated housing at local centres, with better use made of space between centres.
  2. We would like to see policies that restrict the building of out-of-town supermarkets and large stores, as they generate too much car traffic. Shops and facilities should be encouraged near new housing developments in district centres.

Flood management

  1. As these built up areas border the city’s rivers, which also operate as wildlife corridors and green spaces, such housing must be designed to take account of flood risks (including those anticipated because of worsening climate change) and address the consequences of development both upstream and downstream. Every piece of new waterfront opened up should be set aside for public use, whether as a walking / cycling route or as a public amenity such as a pocket park.
  2. Flood management in these areas must be controlled principally by significant flood management upstream, mainly on the moors where by far the largest amount of water is held.

Transport

  1. The Climate Emergency and the aim of a better quality of life require a wholescale re-imagining of how we move around the city. Poor air quality harms peoples’ health and accounts for up to 500 premature deaths in the city. There is a clear correlation between poor air quality and areas of deprivation, thus embedding health inequalities across the city. Research on the effects of the tiny particles given off by vehicle emissions is in its infancy, but we already know that they worsen heart diseases, cancers, strokes, dementia and Alzheimer’s, inhibit infant lung development. Measures to improve air quality include measures to reduce vehicle emissions from buses, lorries and vans, taxis and private cars.
  2. The principles above aim to reduce the need to travel for everyday activities. Where travel is needed, policies must promote access on foot, by bike and by public transport and must dissuade private cars and other polluting vehicles. All development must come with a clear and firm plan to effectively shorten the distance between home and the city centre or local/district centres.
  3. These policies should promote the following objectives:
  • Making active travel (walking and cycling) and public transport (train/bus/tram/tram train) more convenient, attractive, comfortable and cheaper than private vehicles
  • Secure bike storage, recognising that a few bike stands in a general-use car park leaves many of them vulnerable to repeated bike theft. Secure, individual bike parking may therefore be required for each occupant.
  • Segregated cycle and footway infrastructure to enable safe accessible active travel for all.
  • Promoting car-sharing above individual ownership
  • Ensuring that current, proposed or potential cycling lanes and walking routes are not blocked by developments, in particular by telecommunications equipment
  • Reducing the number of private vehicles stored on public roads and reallocation of road space away from car storage
  • Effective co-operation with Sheffield City Region and South Yorkshire PTE
  • Better public transport infrastructure – priority routes, bus shelters at stops, live information on stops and vehicles, facilities to promote inter-connectivity within and between modes
  • Cleaner and less polluting public transport and taxis
  • Equality of access for all, noting that disabled people and BAME communities usually have less access to private cars
  • Cooperation and participation in these policies by significant institutions (universities, hospitals, entertainment spaces)
  • Long-term development of transport hubs on outskirts of the city to keep large haulage vehicles out of the centre and move towards e-vehicles to collect goods from hubs for delivery to city centre businesses; and promotion of e-cargo bikes for last-mile delivery
  • Adequate drop-off and pick-up access for deliveries and taxis as more residents move away from having their own cars.
  • Effective provision of electric charging infrastructure
  • Ensuring that no development conflicts with the potential for reopening or extending (heavy or light) rail lines, even if no plans are active. This could apply for instance to maintaining space to open new railway stations at Parkwood Springs or Deepcar or an existing one at Heeley.
  • A clear traffic impact assessment provided with each planning application, addressing likely and possible vehicle traffic, means of control, deliveries, taxi drop-offs, secure bike storage, access to buses and trams, bike highways, and walking infrastructure.
  • full consideration of residents’ parking schemes

Design

Space standards

  1. Housing must not just be small flats. A genuinely full range of sizes and types is needed. Flats which are less than the minimum recommended size are likely to impact on health and well-being, as they may increase feelings of isolation and stress, including during long hours of working from home.
  2. We are concerned at the recent plethora of apartments, planned to be constructed at well below minimum standards. In one recent planning application, “substandard living conditions” were not considered to be grounds for refusal. In another application for “student residential accommodation,” the developer defended minuscule room sizes as not being intended for long-term student occupation.” As we note above, this is not acceptable for the wellbeing of current or future residents.
  3. At the least, existing regional and national space standards should be incorporated as minimum local policies.

Energy consumption and generation

  1. In order to meet zero-carbon targets, new housing should be carbon neutral or better. All new development must be built to high standards of insulation, including draught proofing, and energy use. Design should first ensure that energy consumption is minimised and then maximise the possibility of energy production (e.g. through solar panels). The city needs to plan now for the switch from gas to electric energy in domestic settings, offices, schools and health settings.
  2. There should be policies to address:
  • High standards of thermal insulation – both design and construction – including Passivhaus standards
  • Standards of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • District heating
  • Maximisation of power generation on-site, using solar or ground-source power
  • Orientation of buildings (or at least roofs) towards the south to maximize the scope for solar generation
  • The need to work towards the removal of gas boilers

 

  1. Sheffield should continue to use Sustainable Building Codes in promoting sustainable design and reducing carbon emissions in housing and civic and industrial buildings.

Community energy strategy

  1. The City Council should urgently create a strategy to promote community energy projects and address the four distinct strands of community energy:
  • reducing energy use;
  • managing energy more efficiently;
  • generating energy through community energy schemes that harness wind, solar or hydro;
  • purchasing of efficient renewable energy.

 

  1. By pooling resources and working together, community energy projects allow local communities to access cheaper energy and improved energy efficiency options, along with adding social and economic benefits to local areas.

The carbon cost of construction

  1. Sheffield’s contribution to carbon emissions released through the supply chains of building materials, including their extraction, manufacture, and transportation, in addition to those incurred during the construction process, need to be recognised and significantly reduced: the built environment is estimated to be responsible for 35%-40% of total carbon emissions in the UK.
  2. The construction sector needs to change focus to retro-fitting and modular construction. In this, we encourage the use of low carbon building processes and super-efficient Passivhaus standards, including the use of timber, which acts as a carbon sink.

Design of Green and open space

  1. Critically, flats must have green space readily available at ground level. This green space should be accessible to the public and exclusive or gated communities should be discouraged. Policies should encourage roof gardens, green walls and planting, although an elevated roof garden should not be seen as a substitute for ground-level green space. Design should offer structure, for interest, and varied native planting to enable biodiversity net gain. Windows with balconies and verandahs should be encouraged.

Tall buildings

  1. Policies relating to design of tall buildings and protection of views in the city centre are incoherent and haphazardly applied. There needs to be an overhaul of these, with a public consultation to gauge views on the impact of the current “iconic building” policy on the Sheffield urban landscape. We support restrictions on buildings that create dangerous wind-flows and over-shadow pedestrians and block the sun from nearby buildings; and ask for improved standards for protecting views to and out of buildings, and where the settings of heritage assets are affected.
  2. In the interests of wellbeing of people and wildlife and to allow for plant/tree growth, Sheffield City Council should adopt a tall buildings design standard to allow for at least 6 hours sunlight per day (May to September) to fall on pavements throughout the city.
  3. We would develop a policy whereby all buildings over 20 metres tall should employ ‘step-back’ and adhere to “relative height to set street width” to avoid the canyon effect.

Roof space

  1. There is a lot of roof space in the city centre. The roof spaces should be used for either solar panels or rooftop gardens to encourage local food production or amenity space.

Pavement width

  1. Increased pavement width, extending where possible into the roadway and making single width roads to create wider pavement passing width (a current Coronavirus issue) to enable greater social interaction and promote disability access.

Conservation and heritage practice

  1. Policies should recognise the full range of Sheffield’s heritage, including the natural environment and cultural practices as much as the built environment. The Council should also recognise the economic value of heritage. On the one hand, Kelham Island is a superbly successful example of heritage-led regeneration; on the other hand, the city has suffered from the loss of cultural heritage and independent local businesses (such as Rare & Racy) for no real gain.
  2. Sheffield Green Party endorses the heritage strategy prepared and developed by the city-wide Joined Up Heritage Sheffield group[2].
  3. This should become adopted policy as the city’s heritage strategy in order to promote better understanding, encourage a strategic approach and develop a better-resourced and better-connected presentation of heritage in the city.
  4. We celebrate the vision of Joined Up Heritage Sheffield in developing its five cross-cutting themes: quality historic environment, economic vitality, health and well-being, diversity and inclusion; and children and young people; as well as the grass-roots consultative approach they have taken in developing these.
  5. We would like to see the compilation of a Local List of buildings of interest that do not meet the criteria for Listed protection but are nevertheless significant in the community.
  6. Policies should recognise the economic and social advantages of conservation areas. A clear approach should be taken to supporting a Castlegate conservation area.

Re-use, not new-build

  1. Sheffield City Council policies should reaffirm and re-enforce conservation practices in the design and construction and use of buildings. This should result in buildings which are durable, energy-efficient, and adaptable for more than one purpose. Bringing existing buildings back into use involves a lot less carbon emission than new construction: Carl Elefante, former president of the American Institute of Architects, said in 2007, “The greenest building is the one that already exists.” Planning approval should be encouraged for good use of existing buildings, such as the conversion of a 19th century school building into flats in Greenhill.

Empty homes

  1. Reusing currently empty homes tackles the housing shortage without the huge energy resources needed for building brand new houses, and reduces the blight on residential streets. Sheffield’s policies must encourage energy-efficient retrofitting of historic and listed buildings, and the pre-1918 housing stock in the city; and provide locally relevant and accessible guidance for owners, householders and friends of support groups.

Disability access and lifetime homes

  1. All new homes built must be accessible to visitors in wheelchairs and mobility scooters. These homes must also be fully accessible or easily adapted for use by mobility-impaired occupants. Strong and enforceable policies must be in place to ensure that ready-to-use homes for wheelchair and mobility-impaired people are available in every area of the city so people can remain close to family and friends. At present, many disabled people have a very limited range of property available to them. Such homes must be provided in phase one of any development so developers actually build them. It is not adequate to offer them only in subsequent phases to be built in the future, if at all.
  2. Where parking is provided, adequate priority for suitable spaces must be accessible to people with mobility needs and to mobility-impaired visitors. There should be storage for mobility scooters
  3. All apartment complexes must be built with step-free access to all floors. It is not an adequate answer to say they could be converted retrospectively if a disabled person happened to want accommodation because this restricts the range of accommodation available to disabled people to less than that available to the general public.

The Green Belt and beyond

No building in the Green Belt

  1. The responses to the City Council’s Options for Growth consultation of 2015 showed that no building should take place on the Green Belt until all brownfield sites have been explored. We agree. There is a long way to go before the potential of all brownfield sites have been explored and utilized. The Green Belt surrounding Sheffield should not be reduced in quality or extent.
  2. Sheffield Green Party strongly supports the provision of the Green Belt to contain urban sprawl, to maintain the separation of settlements, to protect prime agricultural land around settlements, to encourage urban regeneration and compact towns and cities, and to maintain and enhance ecological and cultural value. The Green Belt contains hundreds of thousands of trees which soak up greenhouse gases such as CO2, thus reducing pollution/toxins in the air. Green Belt quality land contains mature woodland trees which have greater capacity to do this than other land uses.
  3. We would put greater emphasis on the Green Belt’s use for wider sustainable development such as flooding mitigation, biodiversity, agriculture, energy production and sustainable transport and sustainable leisure pursuits. There should be no net loss in the quantity and quality of Green Belt land, and plans should aim to ‘green the Green Belt’.
  4. The only development which should therefore be allowed in the Green Belt is that relating to energy production, leisure, re-wilding, conservation, flood control and sustainable transport infrastructure.
  5. It is accepted there could be very small amounts of development in the Green Belt to provide extended family accommodation, benefit communities, tackle rural poverty. These should be decided on a case by case basis.

Brownfield sites in the Green Belt

  1. Areas designated as brownfield within, surrounded by or close to Green Belt land need to be carefully assessed as to their current status. Where re-wilding has taken place, they should be re-designated as greenfield, so as to enhance the Green Belt.
  2. Developments for housing and industry that will attract regular additional traffic or other negative impacts should generally be avoided.
  3. In appropriate cases, they could potentially be given over to low-activity, beneficial uses such as power generation (wind, solar or coppicing).

Rewilded brownfield sites

  1. Similarly, where sites might have been built on in the distant past, they may now provide a huge amount of natural amenity to humans and to the natural world. Such sites should be given a high degree of protection.
  2. The priority should be to regenerate and redevelop previously developed land where that is required, but with the ability for that land to be designated/de-designated as brownfield or green space when and where the situation changes or re-wilding of empty sites occurs.

Infilling

  1. The definition of “infilling” is that of turning over small parcels of land within established residential areas to increase the number of dwellings in that area. Sheffield Green Party would not necessarily oppose this, as increasing the density of already established areas can prevent the need for building on the edges of the countryside in or near Green Belt land. However, any decisions on infill would need to take account of that community’s need for accessible open space and biodiversity: often that small piece of land is rich in both aspects. Policy should take account of how close the site in question is to a district centre.

Greenfield sites

  1. Where they support recreation, mental and physical well-being or biodiversity, greenfield sites that do not lie in the Green Belt can be incredibly important. This is despite the challenges of a nearby urban environment. Therefore, development should only take place on greenfield sites in truly exceptional cases.
  2. We support the removal of the Owlthorpe Townships from the current plan. It is greenfield space that has never been developed and should not now be built on.

Parks and open spaces

  1. Sheffield Green Party notes the need for positive management and maintenance, in perpetuity, of parks and green spaces in the city.
  2. The provision, future management (including details of the owner and the responsible maintenance body) and maintenance of open space, parks and any artificial grass pitches or surfaces should be an integral part of a new development or building project, considered at the beginning of the design process and included, where necessary, as planning conditions.
  3. Sheffield Green Party objects to the passing on of public spaces to management companies with no endowment, and to the commercialisation of public spaces without the active engagement of residents, local and city-wide park support groups.
  4. While Britain has, at present, no official policy on how much green space should be available for its citizens Green MP Caroline Lucas has stated that no new housing development should be sanctioned more than one kilometre from a public park. Sheffield should create new parks and open spaces in densely populated parts of the city which have below Sheffield average amounts of open space.

Trees

  1. There needs to be a commitment to increasing tree cover in the city, particularly on-street tree cover in the most densely urban areas of the city, in order to prevent urban over-heating. We require a policy on increasing the amount of species-rich hedgerow in the urban and rural landscape of the city, and increased protection of ancient woodland, veteran trees or ancient or existing species-rich hedgerows.
  2. Protection of trees varies wildly between areas of the city. Some areas with large tree populations such as Loxley Valley have low numbers of Tree Protection Orders (TPOs) and this needs to change to afford them greater protection. More individual trees, groups of trees, avenues of trees and woodland should be assessed and protected. Members of the public should be actively encouraged and enabled to put forward trees to be protected.

Biodiversity

  1. City centre development helps reduce biodiversity loss further out. Policies should require new developments to contribute to the provision of vibrant wildlife corridors throughout the city. Building along rivers allows the potential of blue/green corridors to be vital threads of life running throughout the city: for instance, bees may travel long distances along riverbanks to forage. Grass verges should be maintained and enhanced as wildflower havens, linking with hedgerows
  2. Planning policy has failed to stem the alarming loss of biodiversity let alone enhance it. Planning policy must protect and enhance ecology and biodiversity in every local landscape.

Agricultural land and development

  1. The criteria for assessing development on the best and most versatile agricultural land should be to:
  • Maintain agricultural land where it is currently in, or suitable for, the production of healthy local food (particularly fruit and vegetables), ideally produced under agro-ecological and organic principles.
  • Maintain access to agricultural land for new entrants to growing and farming and other appropriate production.
  • Promote agroforestry and increasing appropriate tree cover where appropriate, with “right tree in the right place” principles i.e. not unicrop plantations, and almost certainly native species.
  • Protect wetlands, ponds, hedges, meadows, and other special habitats on agricultural land.
  • Support the maintenance and improvement of soil quality.

How to achieve our “Green View”

Public engagement

  1. Building has long-lasting effects on the surrounding area, community and people’s well-being. It follows that effective consultation with communities is essential. This will help identify issues – and solutions – at an early stage. It should encourage community acceptance of new development and developers’ understanding of community needs.
  2. Consultation needs to take place:
  • With neighbouring residents: all households and businesses who will be affected by development should be notified by letter. The present, minimalist approach at present is not adequate. A failure to notify can cause resentment amongst residents who feel that development is subsequently being imposed on them without their views being considered
  • With special interest groups. Examples include the Conservation Advisory Group and Access Liaison Group, which are made up of interested lay people with first-hand experience of the issues in question: thus their views are uniquely valuable. At present, these people give up their time for free but contribute to commercial and community outcomes of development. These groups must be fully facilitated by the council. There should be consideration of a system that provides for at least some recognition (including financial) of the benefit of these groups.   Developers should be encouraged or required to engage with them.

 

  1. The Council Planning website needs overhauling in order to make it easier for the public to engage. Those without ready internet access or computer literacy are increasingly excluded. Current planning meetings also exclude members of the public, by limiting numbers, and more so where they are held online.
  2. Sheffield City Council should make much more effort to communicate to communities about where Green Belt land lies within their area. Specifically, with regard to the maps published as part of the Issues and Options consultation, (Green Belt Review) they are broadly illegible and cannot be used as a basis for consultation with the public in their present form.

Neighbourhood planning

  1. Neighbourhood planning forums give local communities an outlet to express collective views on development in the area they know best. They also offer developers a unique resource to sound out local issues and feelings. They should therefore be supported and developed.

Affordable Housing

  1. So-called “affordable housing” has not been effective in meeting the actual needs of many people. 40,000 people are on the Council Housing waiting list, with about one third of these being seen as “in desperate need” (Sheffield Star, January 2020 figures). For many, “affordable” housing remains unaffordable.  There needs to be a year-on-year increase in social rented accommodation. Any new affordable housing should be predominately social rented, both through the local authority and through housing associations.
  2. Every development should make a contribution to affordable housing, depending on its scale. For smaller developments, it may not be practical to provide affordable housing on site and a financial contribution to social housing elsewhere should be an alternative option.
  3. Where affordable or social housing is provided, it must be integrated on an equal basis with market housing to avoid social segregation.
  4. Policies should provide a firm approach to contributions and should maximise the investment from developers to wider social benefit. To assist cash flow (which we recognise can be an issue on construction projects), cash contributions may be secured through (interest-bearing) deferred payments in appropriate cases.
  5. Sheffield Green Party supports more effective housing controls in areas where there is a lack of diversity in the housing mix, including planning controls that will mean that landlords who want to convert a property into a shared house for three to six unrelated people (small HMO) will need planning permission.

Sites for travellers

  1. We encourage the local authority to provide and maintain Travellers’ sites to recommended national standards designed to prevent overcrowding and allow reasonable living and working conditions.

Supporting Self-build and Community Land Trusts

  1. We support the allocation of more land for self-build and cohousing schemes. We call on the Council to enable the setting up of Community Land Trusts where this is advocated by local communities to preserve their local area benefits, specifically in respect of affordable housing, for the benefit of themselves and for future generations.
  2. To achieve a range of housing types and tenure, and with an emphasis on affordability, the council will need to actively promote partnerships between community groups and bodies such as housing associations to enable Community Land Trusts to be successful in fulfilling their aims.
  3. Sheffield City Council should make use of its compulsory purchase powers to help community groups with good business cases to create more ‘custom build’ and social housing.

Assets of community value

  1. Sheffield should be actively publicising, encouraging and providing officer support to any community group who wish to take advantage of government Locality legislation and who puts forward a building, open space, park or other facility as an Asset of Community Value.
  2. A new “less than best consideration policy” should be established whereby co-operative, charitable or mutually-owned organisations are given first access to bidding for local authority buildings, open spaces, parks and facilities which are being sold off. This policy would allow disposal of the site at a price that reflects the clear dividends can be achieved when a community group owns and successfully operates a business or business premises.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and s.106 agreements

  1. CIL bands should be reviewed with higher rates of CIL levied on newly built student accommodation. Consideration should be given to differential rates of CIL contributions depending on energy ratings of developments.
  2. CIL boundaries should be reviewed and updated. At present, developers have to pay a contribution if they build on one side of the river in Kelham Island but not on the other side. Since it appears the government intends to relieve more developers of having to make CIL contributions, it will become in effect a levy only on the very biggest developments. It follows that there is good reason to apply CIL across the whole of the city. That in turn will generate contributions for the community in areas of deprivation, which are currently exempted.

Construction noise and nuisance

  1. Construction noise and vibration has a serious impact on residents’ health and well-being. As more people work from home, noise and vibration from construction can jeopardise the ability of people to work from their houses, as was seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. In particular, the city centre must be seen as a primarily residential district now, with the consequence that night-time construction work should only take place for emergencies.
  3. People who are more likely to be at home throughout the day because of age, disability or caring for young children are affected even more badly by constant noise and vibration and late or early starts on building sites. People’s mental health can really suffer from constant noise and vibration. So when granting planning permission careful consideration should be given to the length of the working day for the site, including moving machinery and accessing the site early in the morning and late into the evenings.

Waste from construction

  1. Policies should ensure that site construction has established practices to minimise the huge waste of materials and packaging on site.

Monitoring and enforcement

  1. Proper enforcement of high standards and planning obligations is essential. This is not to be punitive but to make sure that no-one cheats the system.  Allowing unlawful development to go unchecked is a penalty on those developers who abide by the rules where those who cut corners can undercut them for profit.
  2. Since enforcement is both a social and economic good, costs of enforcement should be recovered wherever possible from developers in breach of obligations. We would support a policy of greater use of bonds to ensure compliance with planning conditions.

[1] Lichfields (August 2020) ‘Levelling up: What does the new Standard Method mean for Yorkshire and The Humber?’ available at https://lichfields.uk/blog/2020/august/17/levelling-up-what-does-the-new-standard-method-mean-for-yorkshire-and-the-humber/

[2] https://www.joinedupheritagesheffield.org.uk/

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