Photo of the HD Sports factory on the banks of the River Don at Neepsend
The HD Sports factory on the banks of the River Don at Neepsend

Upper Don Trail Trust and Environment Agency raise concerns about proposed factory extension

Photo of the HD Sports factory on the banks of the River Don at Neepsend
The HD Sports factory on the banks of the River Don at Neepsend

The Upper Don Trail Trust and the Environment Agency have both raised concerns about a proposed factory extension that would prevent people enjoying future access to a stretch of the River Don.

The concerns centre on a planning application from the historic Sheffield ice skate manufacturers HD Sports, who want to expand their riverside factory on Rutland Way in Neepsend.

We understand and welcome HD Sports’ wish to expand their successful 300-year-old business making high quality skates in their current premises. We support their application in principle.

But both the UDTT and the Environment Agency are objecting to HD’s proposal to build a large extension right to the edge of the River Don.

The application site borders the south bank of the river, where a corridor of public access has long been planned and supported by Sheffield City Council policy – (see aerial photograph below showing the existing Upper Don Trail access and proposed extension).

Planning permission for a secure storage warehouse on the adjoining former Hydra Tools site just upstream included a requirement for setting back of buildings and boundary security to make provision for this.

More recently the UDTT itself has had positive discussions with owners of the adjoining Drop Dead and Church bar premises about extending access along the river bank within their sites.

The recently published draft Local Plan proposes public access to the river and a new riverside park – historically called Bacon Island – on this stretch of the Don as part of a new housing neighbourhood. This is also supported by several other longstanding city council and Environment Agency planning policies.

We wish HD Sports well and hope their expanding business continues to prosper in its riverside location.

But our response to the planning application asks that any new building is set back from the Don to allow space for the proposed continuous public access.

This should be done in a way that also allows space for a naturalised river edge for habitat, which would also enhance the new residential neighbourhood proposed in the Local Plan.

We are pleased that the Environment Agency have now also supported this position in their comments on the application. They have requested a ten metre setback for new development alongside the river.

In this location we believe 4-5m would be enough to accommodate access with a guard rail and some aquatic planting.

To add your support for our position go HERE.


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