Objection to new development on Penistone Road (ref 21/00234/FUL)

Along with the Upper Don Valley Trail Trust we have objected to a new retail development on Penistone Road opposite Hillsborough stadium.

If you would like to comment on the development you can find it here by searching for 21/00234/FUL.

CycleSheffield and the Upper Don Trail Trust object to the application as it fails to contribute sufficiently to facilitating sustainable and active travel on the major roads immediately adjoining the site or to provide any detail of how the historic waterway (the Wardsend Goyt) within the site is to be restored, made accessible and properly managed . However these defects can be dealt with by better framed conditions without significant detriment to the proposed development.

We understand that this application is an amendment to a very similar one approved only in 2020. However much has changed over the last 12 months and just as the applicants have the right to modify the layout, uses and size of the development to take account of changes in the commercial and retail market, so the Planning Authority is entitled to strengthen its requirement for the applicants to support sustainable and active travel.  The developer and SCC must ensure that active travel infrastructure is now built to the LTN 01/20 standards.

The site stands at a key location where two emerging long distance cycle routes converge both of which can be significantly improved within the development site without impinging on its functionality. These are 

  • the existing but in parts very sub-standard Penistone Road cycle-footway (NCN 627 ) providing a direct utility route to and from the city centre
  • the Upper Don Trail, a projected 22 km long off-road trail linking the city centre with the Peak District over half or which is already in place and a further section in development from Herries Road to Hillfoot

The previous conditions required the developer to provide a Travel Plan which set out

‘’(i) Clear & unambiguous objectives to influence a lifestyle that will be less dependent upon the private car. 

  (ii) A package of measures to encourage and facilitate less car dependent living. ‘’

We do not consider that the approved scheme did enough to fulfil that objective.

We would like to see the following additional improvements to the planning obligations taking account of recent Government and Council policy commitments to promoting sustainable and active travel: :

  1. The Penistone Road cycleway widened and segregated to a consistent 5m along the whole site frontage
  2. The footway on the Herries Road North frontage to be widened to a consistent 5 metre width to accommodate a segregated cycleway as part of the site restoration, not simply noted as a future ‘improvement line’ for others to provide
  3. The new vehicle accesses from the site to Penistone Road and Herries Road North to be redesigned as continuous cycle-footways or ‘blended crossings’ which prioritise walking and cycling over exiting vehicles
  4. The traffic lights at the Penistone Road/Herries Road junction to be converted to a Toucan Crossing at the expense of the developer and as a condition of the use commencing
  5. Details of how the woodland and mill goyt area is to be restored, what public access/amenity is to be provided and who is to be responsible for its ongoing management and funding should be provided before planning permission is granted not as an afterthought
  6. The development will need to include enhanced car parking restrictions for this area.

Reasons for these amendments

  1. The previous permission included welcome proposals to partially widen and declutter the Penistone Road cycle route and prevent parking but these improvements only offered a substandard 4 metres width and did not extend along the whole site frontage but stopped at the Little Bridge over the mill goyt – actually the narrowest part of the existing footway where conflict with pedestrians at the bus layby occurs. The reasoning given for this in the officer report was ‘owing to width constraints by the woodland at the northern end’. We question this – the woodland is a significant area of largely self-set sycamore, birch and willow which is in desperate need of proper management. The loss of a small number of poor specimens of these species on its edge to allow widening by around 2 metres would have minimal impact on the appearance or habitat of the woodland but would provide an important improvement to walking and cycling.
  1. The existing footway on Herries Road North should be similarly widened at its northern end to accommodate a 5m segregated cycle and footway to provide a continuation of the Upper Don Trail currently being developed between Herries Road and Hillfoot by the Council  
  1. The submitted road layout also shows the cycleway on Penistone Road being tortuously diverted around the junction. We would propose a continuous or ‘blended’ Copenhagen crossing to indicate the priority of cycling/walking on the main route as well as that of other traffic. The same detail should also be used for the new junctions on Herries North .   
  2. The previous permission included an agreement for the applicant to give up land for a widening scheme of the Herries Road South/Penistone Road junction which it was suggested would also incorporate a controlled Toucan crossing. We propose that the increased priority now given to facilitating active travel, coupled with the increase in traffic from the development makes the provision of the controlled crossing an immediate priority now and should be funded by the applicant
  1. The previous application mentioned both an ecological survey of the woodland and goyt area and a plan for its restoration and future management. Neither of these was apparently ever supplied. The area has ecological and historical value and could become a valuable and attractive public amenity for employees and customers in the new development and a wildlife habitat but is currently a total mess covered in plastic rubbish, unmanaged tree growth and inaccessible for either pleasure or management except limited maintenance by the landscape contractor. The landscape plan does not show any access to the area either from the public highway or from the development.
  2. Parking on the cycle/footpath is a problem on matchday when SWFC are playing at home. As the land for proposed development is currently used as fan parking this problem will worsen if the development goes ahead.

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