Councillor Douglas JohnsonAt Wednesday’s Full Council meeting the Liberal Democrats either voted against OR abstained on the draft Sheffield Local Plan. The Labour group was also split with some voting in favour, some against and some abstaining.  Green Party Councillors and the majority of Labour Councillors voted for the Local Plan so it had a majority and was passed. It will now be submitted to the Government’s Planning Inspector for approval. If approved, it will then regulate future planning applications.

Councillor Douglas Johnson, Leader of the Green Group on Sheffield City Council said,

“Without an up-to-date Local Plan, property developers can get away with  sub-standard planning applications. The Local Plan may not be perfect but it would have been completely irresponsible for us to vote against it after so much cross-party work has been done on it.  National Planning rules mean that Councils without Local Plans are less able to control  where development does or does not take place. It effectively makes all land fair play for rapacious property developers and therefore disadvantages socially-conscious businesses.

“It is frankly hard to believe that councillors would vote against the Local Plan when they had – quite rightly – criticised the previous Labour administration for the many years of delay that allowed far too many low-quality planning applications through.

“If there is a local green space in your area that people use for exercise, walking the dog, to enjoy nature or for children to play in, then the Liberal Democrats’ votes put that at risk. . This sort of self indulgent posturing in pursuit of political gain is not the act of responsible local politicians who have a duty to balance the legitimate needs of the whole community.”

The Final Vote was 37 Councillors for the Local Plan, 17 against and 20 abstentions. 

Cllr Johnson commenting on the result said,

“Labour was clearly split on the Local Plan, with several Councillors saying they were defying their Party whip. Though many Liberal Democrats spoke against the plan some clearly and quietly abstained, showing they were also split. Greens were clear that without a Local Plan we would be putting developers in the driving seat, our green spaces under threat and losing local control over the planning process.”