A Green Party Councillor on Sheffield City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee has backed residents and conservation groups in opposing a proposal to build a 6 storey office building in the City’s Conservation Area.
The application by Urbana, which was an amended version of a previous application by the applicants, was tabled without objectors to the original application or local Ward Councillors being informed.
Residents have expressed concerns that the original application was overbearing and impacted on light levels in their homes. Conservation Groups have also expressed concern over the design of the buildings that they regard as detrimental to the City’s Conservation Area.
Cllr Brian Holmshaw who is the Green Party Councillor on the Planning and Highways Committee said
“It’s a real worry that the Planning and Highway’s Committee are ramming through developments like this against the wishes and interests of local communities.
Residents and local councillors were not informed in advance that this major application was coming to the November planning committee. So they lost their opportunity to speak out and make clear their concerns.
This was a key city centre development that in the end I voted against as it reduced light levels to flats and amenity space in neighbouring buildings. I also agreed with Historic England, the Sheffield Conservation Group. and the city centre residents group that the design was poor and not worthy of a strategic location in the heart of the city centre’s conservation area.”
Cllr Holmshaw requested a deferral of the Planning Application to allow residents to make their objections to the revised application but this was not supported by Labour and Lib Dem Councillors.
Cllr Martin Phipps who is a City Ward Councillor had also requested that the Planning Application be deferred to allow residents’ voices to be heard. He said,
“I’m really disappointed that the application was not deferred until a later planning committee meeting, as we requested.
Residents were not informed that the developer had updated the plans or that it was going to committee, even when they had selected to track the application.
The application went completely cold for months as the developer appealed their previous rejected application for a 7 floor office block, which is still ongoing.
A site visit was requested so the committee members could see from the residents’ communal area the impact the development would have, as was done for the previous application, but a site visit took place without informing the residents and without visiting their side to see the potential impacts.
Residents will feel they weren’t given a fair hearing: and I can only agree. It’s a shameful way for a decision to have been reached and I know has shaken the faith of residents in the council.”
The application was passed by Labour and Lib Dem Councillors with only Cllr Holmshaw, the sole Green Councillor on the Committee, backing local residents and voting against.
Charles Street Development Revised Planning Application