Press Release - 14/09/2021
Sheaf & Porter Rivers Trust need your help!
Queens Road, Costa Coffee Drive Thru Planning Application
A once in a generation opportunity has presented itself to reveal more of the River Sheaf to the public.
Costa Coffee is proposing to build a 'Drive Thru' Cafe on Queens Road, replacing the former 'Graham's Plumbing Merchants' unit.
However, instead of providing an extension to the River Sheaf Walk alongside the river's edge, they are trying to cram in as much parking as they can on to this site. Room could be made by halfing the number of car parking spaces, which at 27 spaces, seems excessive for a site which may only contain 12 indoor tables and has a drive through. They could also provide outdoor tables along the riverside which would be more attractive than the current proposal.
They also wish to hide the existing River Sheaf Walk alongside the Travis Perkin's site with a nearly 2m high brick wall.
We are encouraging our supporters to Object to their planning application, asking them to tweak the design in order to provide public access to the river. This would also encourage walkers of the route to use their new cafe.
Please object here:
21/03835/FUL | Demolition of existing building and erection of Drive-Thru Coffee Outlet with associated works and landscaping | Land With Existing Buildings On 443 - 447 Queens Road Highfield Sheffield S2 4DR
Deadline for public comments: 28th September
Alongside voicing your concerns via the planning process, you may also wish to contact Costa Coffee directly.
Reasons of Objection & Requests
We believe Sheffield City Council's policy on this is very clear:
This application conflicts with the Waterways Strategy as well as Core Strategy (CS) policies in the Sheffield Development Framework and National Planning Policy Framework. It ignores the existence of the River Sheaf blocks off the waterway from public view with a row of parked cars.
Specifically, these CS policy conflicts are:
1. CS45: Quality and Accessibility of Open Spaces within the Sheffield Development Framework Core Strategy (CS) states that the safeguarding and improvement of open space will be a priority.
2. CS46: Quantity of Open Space within the CS states that, as opportunities arise, new space will be created where it extends the City's Green Network and where there is an existing shortage. (I.e. Highfields)
3. CS 54 Pedestrian Routes: “Walking routes will also be developed along the corridors of the Strategic green network” It should be noted the proposed brick boundary wall would block natural surveillance from the proposed café, overlooking the existing River Sheaf Walk around the Travis Perkins site.
4. CS73 The Strategic Green Network: "Within and close to the urban areas, a Strategic Green Network will be maintained and where possible enhanced, which will follow the rivers and streams of the main valleys:” (specifically including the Sheaf)
There is also no mention of policy GE17 of the Unitary Development Plan. "Policy GE17 sets out that all rivers and streams will be protected and enhanced for the benefit of wildlife and where appropriate public access."
It also conflicts with National Planning Policy Framework para. 170(d) which requires developments to provide net gains for biodiversity. There is no evidence of net gain biodiversity at the moment.
We also would like to confirm the applicant will be required to remove the invasive buddleia on the River Sheaf Boundary wall which they own, which current presents a flood risk.
Pedestrian Safety & Anti-Social Behaviour
As mentioned above, the proposed Brick boundary wall would hide the existing River Sheaf Walk from public view. This would prevent the future improvement of the River Sheaf Walk south of this location as it would remove natural surveillance.
As an absolute minimum, we ask they do no build a brick wall against the existing, already secure metal boundary fence of the Travis Perkins Yard which contains the River Sheaf Walk.
Ideally, follow the strict Core Polices set out above, to provide a footpath along the River Sheaf, on the eastern boundary of the site. This would require changes to the current parking layout and a reduction in spaces.
Otherwise, please condition the application to provide an informal pedestrian crossing from the unit, south in order to connect to the River Sheaf Walk, through the existing boundary fence.
If required, remove the ‘Drive Thru’ aspect, in order to shift the building closer to Queens Road and provide a full LTN 1/20 compliant public footpath along the River Sheaf boundary. This could also incorporate the proposed outdoor seating area, providing natural surveillance along the route, alongside increased customers for the unit.
Lastly, that the riverside boundary current of a “Low Level Brick Boundary Wall With 1100mm High Railing” is of the “5 Weirs Walk” type also known as the Sheffield “Standard riverside balustrade” in order to ensure continuity along the River Sheaf Walk.
This what "Keyline Builders Merchants" built in 2009.
We hope to convince Travis Perkins to clear the overgrown Buddleia from the River Sheaf Walk here.
Costa Coffee currently proposes to build a nearly 2m brick wall here, preventing any future access to the closed section of the River Sheaf Walk.
The Bigger Picture
Previous Council Officers & Councillors required the adjacent development to provide a high standard section of the 'River Sheaf Walk' adjacent to this development. As a temporary solution, it comes out between two terraces on Queens Road. It was intended in future, it would be extended up to Queen's Road bridge, where an information wheel was positioned.
It also requires an extension south to link up with Guernsey Road (behind Halford's) by going under Myrtle Road (Havelock Bridge).
From our surveys, this requires either redeveloping the small industrial units or by asking Network Rail to use the end arch of the bridge, which even when the railway was 4 track, was never used by a rail line!
To the credit of 'Big Yellow Box Storage', our River Survey revealed they have maintained the River Sheaf Walk on their land, ready for future connection to behind Halfords. We also discovered a fishpass which the Environment Agency plan to bring back into use, connecting up more habitats.
These photos are from the currently closed section but could be opened back up to the public.
We have also produced a guide, detailing how to submit a planning response and what is considered relevant by the planners.
More about the River Sheaf Walk
The existing River Sheaf Walk has been a work in progress for several years.
Originally, it was fully promoted and delivered by Sheffield City Council, by the "Environmental Planning Team" which has now been merged into their wider planning department.
This delivered popular sections such as alongside Abbeydale Tesco & Saxon Road footbridge, alongside the other 'works in progress' such as the famous Broadfield Park dead end & Queens Road KFC which it finishes against a Brick Wall (for now!)
Delivering access to the River Sheaf which is not only hidden underground but also by buildings and walls is a key aim of our Charity and we wish to improve it for future generations to use.