Trust warns that Upper Don Trail may be at risk as house builders seek to cut costs in Deepcar

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The Upper Don Trail Trust has objected strongly to proposals by a national house builder to scale down plans for the new riverside active travel route at Deepcar.

House building giant Bloor Homes is building over 420 new homes on the previously derelict old Steins brickworks site alongside the River Don.

Bloor have so far cleared the land and completed a new road bridge across the river to Manchester Road.

The Trust welcomes reclamation of this brownfield land, for which Bloor have already had permission for several years.

But Bloor have now submitted new plans to Sheffield City Council asking to scale down the riverside cycle-footway.

They argue that reclaiming the site is proving unexpectedly challenging, meaning they have too little space for the active travel route as originally agreed.

The Trust are unconvinced. We think the riverside trail is more vital than ever as Sheffield tries to tackle the accelerating climate emergency.

We urge Bloor not to view the Upper Don Trail as a disposable, marginal element of their housing scheme.

Rather, we think they should view the Upper Don Trail as a key asset, making it possible for the new community to travel sustainably in their beautiful riverside environment.

The Trust’s detailed objections

The Trust has submitted detailed objections to the following aspects of Bloor’s revised proposals:

  • the proposed reduction of most of the riverside cycle-footway from 3m to 2m or less. This public route should be seen as one of the most important assets of the development 
  • the proposed diversion of a cycling route onto the narrow Station Road which has no footways or cycle track and is now proposed as a possible bus route
  • the omission of a previously promised footbridge over the river to Manchester Road, connecting the new housing and riverside trail to bus stops and access from the south
  • a new river bank consisting of towering retaining walls of raw concrete at some places as high as the roofline of a two storey house with no attempt to naturalise or green them
  • no apparent access to the river from the top of this wall for amenity, fishing or maintenance

What we would like to happen instead

Bloor’s revised application reveals that will they will save at least £5.1m in landfill and construction costs through their new submission.

The Trust argues that at least some of these savings should be invested in protecting the Upper Don Trail and mitigating the impact of Bloor’s revised layout.

This site has lain derelict for 20 years, blighting the riverside gateway to Deepcar and Stocksbridge. We want to see it reclaimed and developed for much-needed homes.

But in the new circumstances of accelerating climate breakdown, we think every development must now prioritise walking and cycling over car travel to a much greater degree.

We have suggested changes that will protect the route and design of the Upper Don Trail, making it possible for walkers and cyclists to travel together safely and away from busy roads.

We think these changes will actually improve the attractiveness and saleability of the new homes by making the most of this beautiful river setting.

Our proposed changes will improve sustainable connectivity to local shops, workplaces and countryside, making Bloor’s houses more attractive to potential buyers.

How you can help

We are currently waiting to hear when Bloor’s proposals will go before the Sheffield City Council Planning and Highways Committee.

In the meantime, if you support our case you can still make your views known to the councillors who will have to decide whether to approve Bloor’s plans.

You can view the plans by logging on the city council’s planning portal using the link below. We have also included a link to our own detailed objection:

Bloor Homes Deepcar site
Proposed Upper Don Trail routes at the Bloor Homes Deepcar site

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