Urban Uplift requires ‘Castles in Sky’ and would lead to massive loss of Green Belt

Sheffield Star – as we predicted

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, questioned ministers on how they thought it was possible to build more than 53,000 new homes without building on protected green land.

After the debate, Mr Betts said: “What the Government is asking Sheffield Council to do in their local plan is quite literally impossible. They have told us that we need to provide 13,000 more homes than we originally expected, but with no new money or support. We do not want to build on green belt land, but the Government are not giving Sheffield Council any real choice.“It is abundantly clear that Sheffield won’t need that number of homes and shows again how Westminster are happy to make decisions on issues they know little about that will have huge consequences in areas they don’t have to worry about. All this latest decision will serve to do is eat into our precious green belt whilst failing to regenerate areas of the city that would benefit far more from the investment and attention.”

Stuart Andrew, minister for housing, agreed to meet with Mr Betts and other local leaders to discuss the issue.

Backlash at housing uplift

Councillors, officers and campaigners have all called the target “unrealistic” and one top councillor said they would have to build “castles in the sky” in order to meet them.

The council planned to accommodate around 40,000 new homes up to 2039. But the government imposed a 35 percent increase for the largest cities, making Sheffield’s new target more than 53,000 in the same time period.

However, the council said a more accurate estimate is around 1,000 homes per year less than that.

It comes as the council prepares its long-awaited local plan, which will guide where future housing, offices and other developments will go across the city.

Councillor Julie Grocutt, deputy leader of the council, said: “I just think it’s extremely disappointing that we were so far down a path, we understood the housing numbers, we have done lots of work in research in relation to housing infrastructure and jobs and the expert planning advice we have received just does not tally with what feels like the government has done on the back of a fag packet, frankly.

“They have uplifted our number along with 19 other cities. What’s happened to the rest of the country? Where are their housing numbers and expectations? This is not about levelling up, this is just about overcrowding. It’s really not fair to the people of Sheffield.”

Council officers said meeting the government’s housing targets would mean building more than 16,000 homes in the current green belt, affecting seven percent of it.

They warned this would “likely cause serious harm to the environment and undermine Sheffield’s reputation as the Outdoor City”.

However they said the target should be taken as a starting point and not a goal.

2 thoughts on “Urban Uplift requires ‘Castles in Sky’ and would lead to massive loss of Green Belt

  1. London can also expect a 35% uplift in the next London Plan from 52.000+pa to 95,000+pa – there is no reality check, especially for some of the London Boroughs that have few sites

  2. Pingback: Neil O’ Brien MP @NeilDotObrien demolishes Ian Mulheirn @ianmulheirn on the Need to increase Housing Supply | Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

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