‘Ethel will be turning in her grave’
Plus, happy birthday to the ‘Tiser
Good morning readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
A consultation on Sheffield’s Local Plan begins today. The long-awaited document will control where development happens in the city for the next 16 years — but that doesn’t mean that controversial planning applications are going to stop in the two years it’s going to take to ratify it. One application currently under consideration pits our city’s desperate need for new homes for older people against its desire to protect its precious Green Belt. Today we look at the arguments around the application and what’s likely to happen next.
As well as that we have a stunning picture of Sheffield Cathedral, a beautiful home in Ranmoor, and details of a guided tour of the Graves Gallery.
Catch up and coming up
For our weekend read I ventured slightly out of The Tribune’s usual geographical remit to rural North Lincolnshire to find out whether the ancient tradition of the Haxey Hood might be even more sinister than it already looks! You can still read that piece here.
Last week we were still running a reduced publishing schedule so we sent out just one newsletter to our now 1,020 paying members. Daniel Timms’ piece looked at the city’s new Clean Air Zone — which is due to come into effect in just seven weeks time on Monday, 27 February — and whether the scheme is likely to have the desired effect. An extract is below:
The Clean Air Zone is a good first step. Driving a polluting vehicle harms others, and it’s right that this is recognised — though most drivers will notice no change when it’s introduced. The zone doesn’t cover every area of the city with bad air pollution, though by surrounding the ring road it should capture a significant chunk of journeys. But other sources of pollution — most notably from domestic heating — will also need to be tackled in the battle for clean air.
This week we're back to normal with today’s Monday briefing, two members-only newsletters on Tuesday and Thursday, and a weekend read on Saturday. This week’s first newsletter will include a piece about the Sheffield-born author who inspired a generation to become interested in history. And the second will include an interview with Richard Murphy, an outspoken Sheffield academic who says he knows how to solve our current economic woes.
If you want to help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield focused on serving the needs of local readers rather than distant shareholders, please consider subscribing to The Tribune using the button below. It costs just £1.34 a week if you pay for a year up front.
Editor’s note: 2022 was a great year for The Tribune. As well as publishing around 200 great newsletters, we also doubled our number of paying members from 500 to 1,000. If we can keep that going in 2023 we’ll soon be able to grow our operation into one which can take on bigger stories, hire a shared working space and maybe even add a new member of staff. To support the future of high-quality, independent journalism in Sheffield, please join us today.
The big picture: Looking up ⛪
Thanks to Robert Gale for letting us use his great photo of the magnificent lantern tower at Sheffield Cathedral. The tower itself was added when the west end of the building’s nave was redesigned in the 1960s, but the beautiful stained glass was updated to its current design in 1998.
This week’s weather ☔
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say low pressure continues to provide an unsettled thorn in the side of the UK with further bouts of wind and rain.
Monday 🌦️ A bright and blustery day with showers affecting the west of the region more prominently. Chilly with highs of 7°C.
Tuesday 🌧️ A wet write-off with heavy rain during the morning, easing for a time before further rain later. Strong southwest winds and highs of 10°C.
Wednesday 🌦️ Another blustery day with some sun but the risk of further showery spells of rain for many. Cooler with highs of 8°C.
Thursday 🌦️ Staying unsettled and breezy with large cloud amounts and the risk of further showers or longer spells of rain. Highs of 11°C.
Friday 🌦️ Cooler due to the passage of a cold front early on. Bright spells and further blustery showers driven in on the keen winds. Highs of 9°C.
Outlook: No sign of a let up yet with another windy and changeable weekend to come 💨 Temperatures close to average throughout.
The big story: ‘Ethel will be turning in her grave’
Top line: Countryside campaigners and residents have vowed to fight a new planning application for housing on Green Belt land in Sheffield. But are they just being NIMBYs?
Retirement village: Plans to demolish Dore Moor Garden Centre off Hathersage Road to build a new retirement village were lodged by developer Inspired Villages with Sheffield City Council just before Christmas. The development would comprise up to 125 new homes plus communal areas featuring a restaurant, cafe and leisure facilities.
While the site has been developed before, the garden centre is within the city’s current Green Belt and only a few hundred metres from the Peak District boundary.
The local democracy reporting service reported last week that a total of 91 people have so far commented on the application, 86 of whom have objected to the plan.
Density and height: Many of the objections that have been lodged so far concern the proposed development’s density and height. Some say that while they don’t object to the retirement village as such, large four-storey buildings of the kind proposed would dwarf other local buildings and would be seen “for miles around”. The CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire wrote in objection when the plans were first proposed and say they “remain in opposition to this development in this location.” Dore Village Society say that the legendary Sheffield countryside campaigner Ethel Haythornthwaite — whose memorial woodland lies directly opposite the site — would be “turning in her grave” at the idea. “This is Green Belt land,” they wrote on Twitter. “Object.”
Significant increase: While the garden centre site was not earmarked for housing in the recently published Draft Local Plan, the plan does also identify housing for older people as a key need for Sheffield. With the number of older people in the city forecast to increase significantly by 2039, it says a “significant increase” in the supply of housing for older people will be required, particularly in places of greatest need. It’s not clear if this includes communities such as Dore.
Green Belt or brownfield? With the site being in the Green Belt, you might think deciding this application would be an open and shut case. But it’s slightly more complicated than that.
According to the long-awaited Local Plan, which is currently being consulted on, building on the Green Belt can still take place on “sustainably located” brownfield sites within the Green Belt.
Until the council can prove it has a five-year housing supply, there is always a danger that any decision by councillors to reject the application could be overturned by a planning inspector on appeal.
Our take: It’s easy to see why Inspired Villages are keen on the site: a high-end retirement village on the edge of the Peak District is guaranteed to be a money spinner for them. The developers are right to say there is a high need for older people’s accommodation in the city — but whether this kind of luxury development in this particular place is what’s needed is debatable. However, until the Local Plan arrives (still at least two years away), we can expect to see more speculative applications — and more developers hoping to win on appeal.
Our media picks 🎧
Gay Quarter bar closes down with damning open letter to South Yorkshire Police 🏳️🌈 The Star reports that a bar on The Moor has blamed police for its permanent closure. Queer Junction was forced to accept shorter opening hours after the force said that it and neighbouring Dempsey’s were “associated with the highest volume of crime reports in Sheffield”. But in an open letter, bar owners have now accused the force of actively working to shut them down.
Villagers demand answers over four-month fire 🔥 As a huge blaze that has been burning at an industrial site in Kiveton Park near Rotherham for the last 17 weeks looks to be drawing to a close, residents are seeking assurances that it will not be allowed to happen again. The BBC reports that 200,000 tonnes of illegally dumped waste have been allowed to build up at the industrial estate, which is currently owned by Alfie Best, one of the UK's richest men.
Andrew Tate has been allowed to flourish thanks to the decline of British industry 🏭 An interesting piece in the i by South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard links the rise of social media influencers like Andrew Tate with the decline of traditional work. Coppard argues that many young men who would once have found jobs for life in traditional industries have been abandoned, leaving them vulnerable to the damaging messages peddled by people like Tate.
Home of the week 🏡
This four-bedroom Victorian detached lodge house in Ranmoor has beautifully-landscaped enclosed grounds and orchards to the front, side and rear. It is on the market for £850,000.
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Things to do 📆
Art 🖼️ Have you ever wanted to find out more about some of the talented local artists represented in the displays at the Graves Gallery? On Wednesday, 11 January, Sheffield Museums will be hosting a guided tour of the gallery’s portraits, landscapes, abstracts and more which will be packed full of insights into the lives and work of a selection of the artists who have called Sheffield home. The free tour begins at 2pm and lasts for 45 minutes.
Books 📚 Also on Wednesday, 11 January, comedian Robin Ince is coming to Sheffield to raise money for Steel City Readers, a ground-breaking book by local author Mary Grover which she hopes to make free for all. The talk will be an opportunity to see Robin up close in the intimate book-lined setting of the Carpenter Room at Sheffield Central Library at the same time as helping fund a worthwhile cause. Tickets are £15 and the talk runs from 4pm-5pm.
Cinema 🍿 Community Kino at the Union Street co-working space in Sheffield city centre will this Wednesday, 11 January, present a special screening of Mike Leigh’s 1988 classic High Hopes. One of the acclaimed director’s most optimistic movies, the film offers an affectionate yet slyly critical portrait of generational, social and class divides within Thatcher-era Britain. Doors open at 6pm and the screening will be followed by a group discussion about the film.
Happy birthday to the ‘Tiser 🗞
Many happy returns to the Rotherham Advertiser on the occasion of its 165th birthday! As current ‘Tiser reporter Gareth Dennison wrote on Twitter last week, the first edition of the paper was published on Saturday, 2 January 1858, having been founded by local woman Ann Hinchliffe. She ran a printers in the back of her stationery and book shop on the town’s High Street, where a blue plaque was put up in her memory in 2016. That first paper cost one penny and was four pages long. Stories covered the latest from the Crimean War and the news that Florence Nightingale had been given a set of cutlery for her services to the wounded.