Press Release - 12/04/2021
We need your help!
Please Object to Waitrose/John Lewis Partnership's Proposals to remove Trees & Hedges on Cemetery Road & further fence in the Porter Brook!
Full statement from the Sheaf & Porter Rivers Trust:
Waitrose has recently applied for planning permission to create an E-Commerce Depot at its store Sheffield using a small car park on Cemetery Rd. which they own and is used by their own vehicles. The Porter is culverted for several hundred metres under the supermarket and its large car park but a small neglected section of the river does appear in this car park. At present it is largely hidden behind a big , broken down timber fence and is confined to an ugly concrete channel usually littered with rubbish, but the car park is accessible to the public on foot and the river can be glimpsed at the junction of Cemetery Rd with London Road.
Believing that Waitrose and its parent company John Lewis are supportive of both the natural environment and partnership, the Sheaf and Porter Trust therefore approached the company requesting that as part of the redevelopment of this site they undertake some restoration of the river and replace the fence with an attractive low safety railing to allow better public access and visibility . We are offering to work in partnership with Waitrose to look after the restored river as part of our campaign to restore it as a habitat and for public enjoyment, as other businesses and the Council are doing at nearby sites on the Porter, most notably at Sylvester St and Matilda St. We also pointed out that by good fortune the Council are proposing to improve Cemetery Road at this point as a walking and cycling route and public space under their Connecting Sheffield programme and that the small triangle of land between Cemetery Rd and the river could become an attractive space to sit and enjoy the improved river.
Left: Waitrose proposal, yellow includes trees to be felled. Right: Our alternative to protect the Porter
Sadly Waitrose Customer Service have responded to the Trust’s offer with what is effectively a flat ‘no’. The triangle of land between the river and road, although of little operational value, will be enclosed behind two lines of ugly mesh security barrier, established trees and shrubs removed and no improvement to the river is even considered. Further offers by the Trust to work with the store to improve and celebrate the Porter trail through their site and improve light penetration to their culvert are also largely dismissed other than the offer of a token plaque.
However by way of a pat on the head, they have awarded the Trust a ticket for their monthly raffle.
In the light of the recent devastating announcement that the JLP Department Store in Sheffield will close for good, the function of the proposed ‘E-Commerce Depot’ on Cemetery Rd becomes rather more clear. This is effectively the click and deliver replacement for that store in Sheffield !
One would have thought that JLP would have seized any opportunity to offer some small shred of a good news story to the huge slap in Sheffield’s face that the store closure represents. Instead they continue to be tone deaf to local sentiment and offers of partnership.
We would hope that JLP/Waitrose might now reconsider this remote and patronising position before this proposal goes before the Planning Committee. Please see the attached image of their response so far.