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Greens outline new vision for Sheffield

Opposition party responds to Local Plan proposals ahead of council elections this year.

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Cllr Douglas Johnson said that "good planning decisions can literally save the world".

Sheffield Green Party.

Sheffield Green Party have shared their vision for the future of planning in the city as part of a consultation on the much-delayed new Local Plan.

Their ideas include creating a '30-minute city' with better provision for walking and cycling, and building more high-quality affordable housing in former industrial areas.

They also want to see better use of waterfronts like the River Don, the protection of Sheffield's green belt and the promotion of community energy projects.

“Cities are uniquely placed to respond to climate change – good planning decisions can literally save the world," said Green councillor for City Ward Douglas Johnson.

"Commuting to work is bad for climate change, air pollution, people’s health and productivity – so we support more, good quality housing close to the city centre where people can both live and work."

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

The updated 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.

Other Green Party suggestions include gardens and solar panels on rooftops, better public transport infrastructure and the promotion of car-sharing schemes as an alternative to individual ownership.

They also say that councillors should "not be afraid" to refuse planning applications that do not meet the standards of the plan.

As present the government strictly limit the reasons for which local councillors can turn down planning applications, weakening democratic control over local development. This has led to developers being granted permission to demolish both the Old Coroner's Court and the former site of Rare & Racy despite opposition from the ruling Labour group.

In their extensive sets of proposals, the Greens also criticise a wave of recent housing developments in the city centre which they say are often low-quality, too small and subject to noise pollution.

They want to see minimum space standards adopted as local policy, saying that small homes "may increase feelings of isolation and stress, including during long hours of working from home."

“In one recent local planning application "substandard living conditions" were not considered to be grounds for refusal," said Green Party candidate Brian Holmshaw.

"In another application for "student residential accommodation", the developer defended tiny room sizes as not being intended for "long-term student occupation". This is not acceptable for the wellbeing of current or future residents."

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