Olivia's objection letter - see below for plain text
Plaintext version:
I write as the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam to object to the proposed erection of 13 flats and three retail units on the open space at the junction of Cobden View Road and Northfield Road.
This plot of land had long been used and tended to by local churches, families, voluntary organisations and the wider community as the site of the Cobden View community garden, a much-loved green space with a long-established public right of way. The local community maintained this site, planting bulbs and wildflowers and developing it as a safe haven for local wildlife.
The covid-19 pandemic has highlighted to all of us the importance of accessible green spaces. Sheffield City Council’s Green and Open Spaces Strategy (2010-2030) sets out a vision for our city to ensure that ‘every area of the city has green and open spaces of exceptional quality for all’; key to this strategy’s success is ensuring the protection and preservation of existing spaces. Crookes is a well built-up urban area, which makes the survival of the few pockets of greenery, like this site, all the more important.
With Sheffield City Council having recognised, and working to address, both the climate and nature emergencies, it would be hard to justify approving a development which the applicant’s ecological report notes ‘will result in the loss of all existing habitats on site.’
I am equally concerned by the specifics of this proposal. The development would not be in-keeping with the local area, seeking to greatly overdevelop a site with little concern for space standards, or the impact on would-be residents or their neighbours. As proposed, the development would tower over neighbouring properties on Cobden View Road, blocking light to several houses and intruding on their right to privacy.
Proposing 13 new residences and three new retail units will greatly increase traffic and parking difficulties in the surrounding area. Crookes high street is already a very busy road and one that many children cross to and from Westways School. The cars this proposal will bring will only exacerbate this issue.
I am not convinced by the suggestion of the Travel Plan that, as the site is ‘a very sustainable location’ no residents from any of the 13 apartments will own cars. Rather, I would suggest that the lack of consideration as to where or how potential residents would park is a refusal to address the fact that a lack of parking spaces is already a significant issue in this part of Crookes, with many regularly having to park many streets over from where they live. That the developer has chosen not to consider where 13 apartments worth of cars would park speaks to a lack of consideration for both current and potential future residents.
I am also concerned that the proposed development comprises traffic safety by limiting visibility on a very busy corner. By obscuring the junction for drivers turning left onto Northfield Road from Cobden View Road it will make this junction even more dangerous for both pedestrians and road users.
Finally, I must return to a point raised in my objection to the previous application—the attempted destruction of this green space and felling of trees, which the developer started undertaking well prior to requesting planning permission—and ask that this be taken into account. The developer previously brought contractors onto the site and commenced construction work, erecting a fence around the perimeter of the site, before attempting to seek planning permission.
The Council’s Enforcement Team had to be called out on this and another occasion, when the developer’s contracts attempted to clear the community garden and remove trees and hedges in the early hours of the morning.
These actions speak to a disinterest in maintaining good neighbourly relations and a disregard for protocol and planning regulations. By enclosing a beloved community garden and vital open space without prior notice or any means of community consultation, the developer has repeatedly shown disregard for residents and the wider Crookes community.
As you know, this application follows the withdrawal of two prior applications. I am concerned that these repeated applications and withdrawals, without consultation or communication, again shows as lack of concern to neighbours who have been kept in the dark about the future of this site and how it will impact their own houses and lives for nearly two years now.
I ask that the committee reject this application and preserve this as a green and open space.
Olivia Blake
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam
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