In 2014 a development proposal was submitted by the Extra MSA group to build a new motorway service station in Smithy Wood, off Junction 35 of the M1 in the Ecclesfield/Chapeltown area of Sheffield.
Smithy Wood includes over 15ha of semi-natural ancient woodland. It is regularly used by local people from Chapeltown, Thorpe Hesley, the Cowley estate and other areas nearby. Dating back over 850 years, it is an irreplaceable piece of Sheffield’s environmental landscape and heritage and supports a diverse range of locally and nationally important species – including ancient woodland flora, birds, bats, fungi and butterflies. It has significant historical interest – as described by local historical woodland expert Mel Jones in his book Sheffield’s Woodland Heritage.
Smithy Wood is privately owned and is designated as a Local Wildlife Site within green belt. The wood forms part of an important ecological network – a network for nature – that runs from the centre of Sheffield out to High Green, Chapeltown and beyond (as identified by the Sheffield City Council Development Plan). Recently, the site has not been managed or protected from inappropriate use and has increasingly suffered damage from 4×4 vehicles and fly-tipping.
Extra Motorway Services have lodged an outline application to build over 3,000m2 of retail park, an 80-bed hotel and over 500 parking spaces on the site. A majority of the ancient woodland site would be lost or affected, leaving a small isolated remnant standing.
The developers carried out a consultation before submitting their planning application in 2014. In October 2015 they submitted final documents for their outline planning application. In September 2017, a formal application was submitted by Applegreen for another MSA at Junction 33 of the M1. This application is due to be decided by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.