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Consultation opens on future Sheffield masterplan: new vision will guide city development until 2038

A consultation on a much-delayed new masterplan for the future development of Sheffield opens to the public today.

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Sheffield as seen from Crookes.

Photo by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash.

The Sheffield Local Plan will cover areas including housing, transport, shops, parks and adapting to global heating, and will guide the development of the city from 2023 to 2038.

"These big decisions will shape the future of Sheffield," said Cllr Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability.

"It’s important that we hear from as many local people as possible, this is your city and we need to know what is most important to you and how you would like to see it develop."

The Local Plan replaces the Sheffield Core Strategy of 2009, which in turn replaced 1998's Sheffield Unitary Development Plan.

The new document has been repeatedly delayed, having first gone to consultation in 2015. A final version was due to be published in 2018 but is now expected in September 2023, with Sheffield City Council blaming national policy changes.

In October, the Liberal Democrats accused the Council of giving "free reign" to developers by delaying the plan.

"Developers can try and build anywhere across our city – including on the green belt – because Labour has failed to write a local plan," group leader Cllr Penny Baker told The Star at the time.

A 72-page Issues and Options document has been released ahead of the consultation. It outlines the aims of the Local Plan and describes some of the projects it could potentially include.

The Council say that the plan will explore whether more housing can be built on brownfield sites, after concerns were raised in the 2015 consultation about development on green belt land.

The Conservative government in Westminster has recently announced plans to weaken democratic oversight of the planning system, which critics say could lead to "the next generation of slum housing."

Other aims of the Local Plan include protecting the city's "heritage assets", with a focus on improving neighbourhoods in areas of the city centre like Moorfoot, Neepsend and Castlegate.

Sheffield Council told Now Then that a previously proposed Castlegate Conservation Area is "still under review" and will now be considered within the context of the new Local Plan.

A public consultation event on the Castlegate Conservation Area was due to take place in February, but attendees arrived to find a note pinned to the door saying the event had been cancelled.

Since then, the government's unelected Planning Inspectorate has overruled councillors to allow a developer to demolish Castlegate's historic Old Coroner's Court of 1913.

"The Planning Inspectorate’s decision on the Coroner’s Court building is disappointing, but we take note of the decision and its implications for any future development in the area," Cllr Johnson told Now Then.

"Working with our partners, the regeneration of Castlegate is progressing with increasing momentum, with a focus on ensuring that its important heritage is also a significant part of its future."

The public consultation on the Local Plan will include three drop-in sessions on Zoom, taking place on 3, 16 and 23 September. These will include a short presentation about the project, and an opportunity to ask questions to council officers.

by Sam Gregory (he/him)

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