Thursday, June 20, 2024

Sheffield: Infrastructure concerns over new neighbourhoods – BBC News

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Image source, GPAD & ARUP

Image caption, Architect images show apartments alongside a Grade II listed cementation furnace in Furnace Hill

  • Author, Simon Thake
  • Role, BBC Sheffield

People living and working near two new neighbourhoods being built in Sheffield have expressed concern about the lack of infrastructure surrounding them.

Sheffield City Council recently announced it had received £67m of levelling up funding from Homes England to build 1,300 new houses in Furnace Hill and Neepsend.

But some locals said they were worried about insufficient nearby GP surgeries, post offices and schools to handle the extra demand.

Homes England said the project would create “two new vibrant communities for the people of Sheffield to enjoy”.

The scheme would create commercial spaces, new local facilities and public green spaces while “celebrating the industrial history of the area”, developers said.

The plans were first announced by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove at the Convention of the North conference in March.

Council leader Tom Hunt said a minimum of 20% of the new homes would be “truly affordable accommodation” which would be “within the reach of everyone”.

Image source, Simon Thake

Image caption, Rob McMenemy, who has lived in the area for six years, says he has to travel out of the area to access amenities

Ben McGarry, chair of Kelham Island and Neepsend Community Alliance (KINCA), welcomed the plans for more homes but said it needed to be “the right sort of housing” to encourage families to come to the area.

“I really hope Homes England stick to their plan, for too long developers have built pokey appartments which means people only stay for a year – we need larger houses and gardens to attract families,” he said.

Image source, GPAD & ARUP

Image caption, Neepsend will include one of the new neighbourhoods being created with the £67m funding

Rob McMenemy, a retired publisher who has lived in Kelham Island for six years, said some elements had been left behind during the “dramatic” expansion of the area.

“Around here there’s been a thirst for as many units as possible but they forget to build the simple things you also need,” he said.

“There’s nowhere for the bins – these are the things that get forgotten.”

Mr McMenemy also expressed concerns about the current lack of local amenities.

“We travel outside the area for everything,” he said.

“To get to the doctors and the supermarket you have to cross the ring road, it’s a barrier if you’ve got young kids.

“We need a park, a swing and a slide – we have nothing like that.”

Image source, Simon Thake/BBC

Image caption, David Granville’s shop on the edge of Kelham Island and Neepsend looks on to the proposed development at Furnace Hill

David Granville, owner of Kelham Island Books and Music, welcomed the potential for extra customers but shared similar reservations.

“We have bars and barbers and coffee shops, we need a post office, a pharmacy, a school,” he said.

“My local GP is over the hill in Burngreave, this will put pressure on other facilities in other areas.”

Peter Denton, chief executive of Homes England, said: “This funding will kickstart the transformation of Furnace Hill and Neepsend, paving the way for 1,300 new homes and 4,000 sq metres of commercial space, and, ultimately, the creation of two new vibrant communities for the people of Sheffield to enjoy.”

Mr Hunt said the regeneration plan would “breathe new life” into the two areas and “create great neighbourhoods”.

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