Dore Neighbourhood Forum

Neighbourhood Plan passes Referendum

We are pleased to announce that the Referendum on 12th August proposing approval of the Dore Neighbourhood Plan was passed with 1,986 votes in favour and 106 against. You can read a copy of the official poll declaration here.

Referendum on Dore Neighbourhood Plan – Thursday 12 August 2021

1. Background

The Dore Neighbourhood Forum began work on a Neighbourhood Plan in October 2015 under the powers granted in the Localism Act of 2011. Under the guidance and management of a Steering Group which the Forum appointed, seven working groups of local residents began work to develop the principal themes of the Plan and then to test them out on open workshops and other events for residents, local groups and businesses. The Steering Group conducted researches on landscape, historical, biodiversity, leisure, transport, commercial, housing and other issues to develop the scope of the Plan and the evidence to support its emerging policies. Those ideas, which helped to develop clear and useful planning policies, were debated and ideas for future non-planning projects in Dore were parked for inclusion in an annex to the Plan. Over 55 Steering group meetings took place, in addition to meetings with interest groups, residents’ associations and ward councillors and extensive exchanges with our two planning authorities. Formal public consultations took place which led to adjustments in our text as well as professional advice from our planning authorities. Once the Forum submitted its Plan formally to Sheffield City Council in 2020, it underwent another external public consultation, some adjustment, and then a comprehensive scrutiny by an appointed external Examiner.

Throughout this consultative community process, which the Examiner commended as having been thorough and open, the Steering Group kept true to the vision set out for them by the Forum, which itself consisted of no less than 1,000 local people, the entire membership of Dore Village Society. In agreement with the City Council and the National Park Authority, changes were made to the Plan to reflect the recommendations of the Examiner, and while these reduced the impact of some of the policies, the main thrust of the Plan survived intact. It is a Plan of which the community can be proud because it is the community’s own Plan, forged through much hard work and genuine inspiration.

The Referendum asks Dore electors whether they support the City Council and the National Park using the Dore Neighbourhood Plan to help them decide planning applications in Dore Neighbourhood Area. To read the Neighbourhood Plan press the link HERE and to see the Policies Map press the link HERE.

2. Why Should Dore Vote YES at the Referendum on the Plan?

2.1 Neighbourhood Plans are designed to ensure that a distinctive neighbourhood within a wider planning authority can determine planning policies which specifically address their needs and then secure their acceptance within the general planning policies of the wider area. The Local Plan of Sheffield City Council contains planning policies tailored to the needs of neighbourhoods as diverse as Dore, Burngreave, Manor Castle, Mosborough, Nether Edge, Chapeltown and elsewhere. The Local Plan of the Peak District National Park Authority contains planning policies for protected areas of the highest landscape quality from the millstone moorlands of the north to the limestone valleys of the south, encompassing small hamlets and villages and no residential area larger than Bakewell.

The Dore Neighbourhood Plan Area lies half in the City Council area and half in the National Park, and our Plan therefore must address the needs of that distinctive Neighbourhood Area. The Plan acknowledges the reality that Dore Village itself is situated between the highly valued and extensive ancient Ecclesall Woods (with urban Sheffield beyond) on one side and the countryside setting of the magnificent landscapes of the National Park on the other side. We have prepared a Neighbourhood Plan which reflects Dore’s close relationship with the National Park and with Sheffield’s Green Belt, the relatively high quality of our housing stock, our valued internal green spaces and the sense of Dore being a cohesive community and also the ward with the highest average age in Sheffield. This distinctiveness of Dore is the very best reason for Dore having its own homemade Neighbourhood Plan.

2.2 What other Policy reasons are there for supporting our Plan:

1. Because our Neighbourhood Area lies (roughly half and half) inside both the city and the National Park, our Neighbourhood Plan allows the voice of the National Park to be reflected in our Neighbourhood Plan and demonstrates how Sheffield should regard the valued landscapes and setting of our highly protected neighbour.

2. Our Plan supports the rights of way and of open access of walkers in the National Park, and the Dore community counts itself as very keen local visitors to the Park who are anxious to play our part in its protection. These landscapes rest within our sight and our activities.

3. Our Plan has established for the first time for Sheffield and nationally the vital principle that the landscape setting of the National Park lying between the Park’s boundary and the developed edge of Dore is to be respected in planning circles and makes it categorically clear how this principle applies to Long Line. Even in draft the Neighbourhood Plan has already been successfully cited in a planning hearing which turned down proposals for building a small estate of several houses in one of the green gaps on Long Line.

4. The principle at 3 above means that the preservation of the setting of the National Park no longer rests solely on the fact that the Green Belt between the National Park and developed Dore has a protected status for other reasons. The Plan also signals the community’s strong support for the Green Belt against the five officially approved purposes for creating Green Belt.

5. In the interests of biodiversity, of landscape conservation and community recreation and leisure, the Plan includes policies which support improvements in the green infrastructure within Dore and its Green Belt.

6. Our Plan lays down that infill housing development in Dore must be of a high quality and respect the character of our local housing areas and gives guidance on what characteristics are important in this regard.

7. The Plan supports the development of more small well-designed homes in Dore instead of concentrating on the building of large prestige homes. This reflects the needs of an ageing population and the needs of first-time buyers.

8. By supporting this Plan, you will secure protected Local Green Space status for seven sites in Dore – Beauchief Gardens, Dore Recreation Ground, Dore Village Green, Kings Coppice Amenity Space ‘The Orchard’, Limb Lane Picnic Site, Totley Brook Green Space and Whirlow Playing Field off Limb Lane. This is reason enough alone for voting YES.

9. The Plan offers some protection to the vitality of the retail and community assets in central Dore, although this has been somewhat undermined by subsequent changes made by Government to the Planning Uses classification.

10. There are several policies for safeguarding heritage assets in Dore.

11. There is a policy to safeguard the park-and-ride facilities at Dore and Totley Station and to encourage sustainable modes of transport in Dore

2.3 Certain developments in parts of the city, including housing developments in Dore, give rise to Community Infrastructure Levies being paid by the developer to the City Council. 15% of those levy incomes from within a neighbourhood should be spent on infrastructure needs in that neighbourhood, whereas, if the neighbourhood has an Adopted Neighbourhood Plan, 25% of the levy income should be spent within that neighbourhood. Dore may well still have some arguments with the Council about how this 25% is spent, but clearly there remains an important financial incentive for supporting the Plan which could lead to more money being available for local projects.

3. Looking to the Future

While the community worked on the Plan and produced arguments for neighbourhood planning policies, they often suggested ideas which could not be turned into valid planning policies or which required assistance or finance from others, but which ought not to be lost. The Steering Group gathered these ideas and included them in the Neighbourhood Plan as an annex entitled ‘Neighbourhood Aspirations’. The Examiner commended us for doing this and hoped that some of the aspirations would come to fruition.

One good reason for voting YES for the Plan is that it contains in its annex a credible programme of projects which the Dore Village Society, ward councillors and others who have the community’s interests at heart could pursue in the years ahead. There are 18 proposals in the annex for projects like:

  • Improving green infrastructure in and around the village, including developing management plans for each of the new protected Local Green Spaces, extending Totley Brook green space and improving the management of Dore Allotment site.
  • Producing a village centre environmental improvement plan and landscape improvements in front of the Victuallers’ Almhouses on Abbeydale Road South
  • Modestly extending the Dore Conservation Area boundary to include the entire curtilage of Townhead Farm and creating a new Conservation Area on lower Dore Road and to each side of its junction with Abbeydale Road South
  • Pursuing various traffic and parking management plans, including in the village centre, on Long Line and at the difficult Dore Road/Abbeydale Road South junction, and improving heavy vehicle restrictions where necessary.
  • Pursuing improvements to bus services in and from Dore.
  • Researching non-designated heritage assets and securing their recognition

The Dore Neighbourhood Forum strongly recommends that Dore electors VOTE YES to give effect to the community’s own Plan.

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After nearly four years of intensive research, consultation, debate and drafting, involving public consultations and workshops, working groups, nearly 50 steering group meetings and Neighbourhood Forum approvals, the Dore Neighbourhood Plan and its accompanying Policies Map have been completed and, as required by Planning Regulations, formally submitted together with various supporting documents on 20 September 2019 to Sheffield City Council and the Peak District National Park Authority.
In October 2014 the complete membership of the Dore Village Society was designated a Neighbourhood Forum for the Dore Neighbourhood Area, which lies half in the Peak District National Park and half in the City of Sheffield for development planning purposes.
There follows a substantial collection of documents recording the origin and activities of the Dore Neighbourhood Forum and its appointed Steering Group and the development of the Dore Neighbourhood Plan.
Now that our Plan has been formally submitted to the Local Planning Authorities, it is largely out of our hands, but Sheffield City Council now has legally regulated obligations as to how it processes the Plan through four further stages:
1. A public consultation exercise which asks the question of respondents whether the Dore Neighbourhood Plan meets the Basic Conditions required of a viable Neighbourhood Plan.
2. An Examination conducted by an independent expert to establish whether the Dore Plan meets the Basic Conditions taking account of the comments received from respondents.
3. Decisions to be reached by our Local Planning Authorities on whether the Dore Neighbourhood Plan requires amendment in the light of the Examination to be acceptable.
4. The holding of a Referendum of registered Dore electors to determine by a simple majority of those voting whether what emerges from the earlier stages as the proposed Neighbourhood Plan is to be accepted as part of the Local Development Plan against which planning applications in Dore are decided.

Sheffield City Council has now reached the stage at 1 above. It is launching on Tuesday 14 September a legally required public consultation on the Dore Neighbourhood Plan formally submitted to the Council last September and validated by them for consultation. The Consultation lasts for 6 weeks and responses can be made online by visiting the Council website at https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/planning-development/neighbourhood-planning and turning to the Dore Neighbourhood Plan heading. The Council site will display all the key documents relating to the Dore Neighbourhood Plan including the Plan itself and the Policies Map and will explain how to express your views on whether this is a properly prepared appropriate Plan for Dore Neighbourhood Area. To save time in accessing the documents you can read the submitted Dore Neighbourhood Plan HERE and the Policies Map HERE.

The Dore Village Society and the Dore Neighbourhood Forum encourage those who live or work in Dore to read the plan and provide comments on it to show how much interest there is in this document produced by the community for the community.

Introduction to the Dore Neighbourhood Forum

The Dore Village Design Statement, 2005

  1. What is a Neighbourhood Forum?
  2. Background to the Dore Neighbourhood Plan
  3. Submitted Dore Neighbourhood Plan, September 2019
  4. Programme of Activity
  5. Steering Group and Working Group memberships
  6. Minutes of the Steering Committee Meetings
  7. Minutes of the Working Groups' Meetings
  8. Items of Correspondence:
  9. Dore to Door article by the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee 
    explaining the background to neighbourhood planning in Dore: its history, how the work is currently being organised, and what the working principles and objectives are.
  10. (Available Soon) Further background explanations of the Neighbourhood Planning Process
  11. Map of the Dore Neighbourhood Plan Area
  12. Minutes and Feedback of Public Meetings
  13. Analysis of Returned Housing Questionnaires
  14. Pre-Submission Consultation on Draft Dore Neighbourhood Plan
  15. Evidence Library of documents submitted with the draft Dore Neighbourhood Plan: [for a fuller explanation of each document, see the item marked ** below. Except where marked, all the documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF)]

The City Council’s Developing Sheffield Plan

For some considerable time Sheffield City Council has been preparing a new Local Plan (under the title ‘Sheffield Plan’). On 1 September it published a consultation document entitled “The Sheffield Plan, Our City, Our Future : Issues and Options, September 2020”. This documented the Council’s vision and objectives for the city and initial thinking about how and where it would plan to provide the employment opportunities, transport infrastructure and new homes required in the city over the next 15 to 20 years. In particular the document set out three alternative options for the location of the 40,000 new homes which needed to be built to meet Government targets. These options varied according to how many homes could be built within the existing urban and suburban confines of the city – including how intensively in the city centre itself – and how many homes might have to be built on the existing Green Belt. There are set out below:

-        The Issues and Options consultation document. The consultation is now closed.

-        The response from Dore sent to the Council by the Dore Village Society Committee.

-        The response from Dore sent to the Council by the Steering Group of the Dore Neighbourhood Forum.

The Council published a range of supporting and evidentiary documents alongside the Issues and Options document. One of these was a “Green Belt Review, September 2020” which might cause concern in Dore because it sets out to assess and score how far different parts of the Green Belt around the city fulfil the formal purposes for the creation and maintenance of Green Belt. In particular, accompanying a further document (the Sheffield Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment Report), an expandable map was published which showed housing sites which were recently completed, or in various stages of permission and construction or otherwise identified. In the case of Dore Neighbourhood Area nine sites were shown in grey located in our Green Belt which will concern local residents. It is important to note that these sites as yet have no formal significance beyond the fact that they were proposed by landowners and developers as potential sites for housing in response to an open Calls for Sites issued by the City Council in recent times. However, having been identified now in public, the Dore responses to the Issues and Options consultation make it very clear how opposed the community would be to any attempt in the future to release these sites from the Green Belt protection. The sites are indicated on the map here. Quite apart from scoring the sites for their degree of contribution to Green Belt purposes, future consideration needs to be given to the value of these sites to the best possible landscape character assessment of the area, to biodiversity, to recreational needs and other criteria. We believe that after such an assessment, no-one should contemplate releasing these sites from the Green Belt.