About This Blog

The public should know all we can about the business of the decision makers that affect our lives, our wallets and our democracy. This is a record of my efforts to try and improve the levels of transparency and accountability within Sheffield City Council and others. To shine a light on how decisions are made and where the money goes. If I can also help others to find their own voice and influence along the way, then that is a bonus.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Devonshire Street demolition. How to stop it!

The decision on the demolition of a row of shops considered by many as the jewel in the crown of the Devonshire Quarter's shopping experience and probably the oldest remaining shopping street in Sheffield will be made on Tuesday 24th March 2015, at the Planning Meeting, taking place in the Town Hall, Pinstone Street, S1 1HH at 2pm.

This may well be the last chance to prevent the demolition from going ahead, though with Planning Officers recommending demolition to the Planning Committee this may be a slim chance. I believe it is important that we make our case and try to force a rethink on the Officers and the Committee.

If you feel strongly enough about this and like me think this is unacceptable, get involved, here is what to do.

First, turn up to the Planning Meeting on Tuesday to voice your objection. You need to arrive fifteen minutes before the meeting starts, so at 1.45pm and register your wish to comment with the clerk of the meeting. Anyone affected by an application, whether as a neighbour or other Interested parties, may ask to put views personally.

Have your comments prepared. The more people that speak the longer the meeting will take and the potential that we can stop or change the decision that day. The Chair of the meeting will probably try to prevent too many people from contributing so we will have to be firm that we each have different points to make and we all deserve a chance to speak.

Make sure as much of your comment as possible concentrates on the planning issues rather than just personal preference for the shops that are currently there or concern over chain retailers taking over, they won't consider these comments as relevant. Make it personal however, commenting why you have problems with what they are doing, based on the planning issues.

Here are some comments that might be useful to you;

The Coal Authority report suggests a significant mining legacy risk. This could lead to redevelopment not being an option after demolition and this heritage being permanently lost.

The developer's own archaeological report states. “...overall, the proposed development will have a minor negative impact” and “A proposed sympathetic scheme that would retain the existing building, whilst also developing the land to the rear would be considered as providing a moderate/minor positive impact.”

The Planning Officer's report highlights “ Policy BE15 of the UDP...(says)...Development which would harm the character or appearance of Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas or Areas of Special Character will not be permitted.” (The Grade II listed former Wharncliffe Fireclay Works would be affected.)

and “... policy BE18...expects the retention of buildings, walls, trees, open spaces and other features that contribute to the character of the Area,”

and “Policy BE20 of the UDP (Other Historic Buildings) states that the retention of historic buildings which are of local interest but not listed will be encouraged wherever practicable”

The NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) advises. “advises that local planning authorities should set out ... a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment and, ... recognise that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource which should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance.

The Archaeological report also states. “Numbers 162-170 Devonshire Street have a strong social value, not only for those who continue to work within the buildings, but also within the wider local community. The social value of the application site has been demonstrated by public interest into the development proposal and formal comments registered to the application.”

and “The Appraisal concludes that the proposed development will result in the complete loss of the undesignated heritage asset of local importance...”

These are just a few comments I've picked out from all the reports as relevant to planning policy and therefore a good hook on which to hang your objections. There are others and all the reports can be seen on the Council website's Planning pages.

Start Here

The full set of reports are here.

If you have the time add some thoughts of your own.

Around 19,500 people have objected to this proposal, in one form or another, if we can get just 1% to turn up at the planning meeting that would be huge. Please try to be there and please try to comment.


  1. Hi Nigel.
    I think if demolition is approved in the face of so much public opposition, this will beggar belief. Yet another slice of character gone with the loss of these independent shops.
    However, when objecting, do not place much emphasis on the findings of the Coal Report; the site will not be difficult to remediate if required and this will add some cost to the development, but will not hinder it. So concentrate objections in other areas..
    Kind regards..

  2. I don't see why they would want to destroy them buildings, they have character like new modern buildings just can't hope to posses.

  3. It seems to me that Sheffield town planners have already destroyed quite a lot of historic Sheffield- it's becoming a town of no character. Please leave this very attractive and popular area alone!!!!!

  4. I would love to speak at the meeting. I still haven't been illuminated on the necessity for the demolition. Fill me in someone please

    1. Public Interest22 March 2015 at 16:37

      There is no necessity for demolition, The developer's own report says the buildings are not in any immediate danger but may need some attention at some point in the future. Even the timescale of any potential problems are not specified.

  5. The planners and the elected members don't care. They wring theur hands and say they have no power. So what are they there for? What exactly is their function?