Sheffield University’s £8 million ticket to a greener city campus

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An £8 million plan to make the Sheffield University campus greener, easier to get around and more closely linked with the city centre is set for the final go-ahead next week.

Streets will be pedestrianised and major bus routes will be changed under the first phase of the scheme - while future stages could see the busy Western Bank road become one-way and the Brook Hill roundabout made less of a bottleneck for traffic.

The changes - part of the university’s 10-year campus masterplan - are being brought in to boost safety, as well as supporting an increase in the number of students once the new £81 million Diamond engineering building opens in September.

Earlier this year Sheffield Council approved the proposals in principal and gave the green light to secure nearly £3 million in city region funding towards the project’s total cost of £8.4 million. The university is also pitching in with just under £5.5 million of its own money.

The proposals will go before a council highways committee meeting on Tuesday, after the plans were tweaked following a public consultation.

New and improved paths for pedestrians and cyclists will be provided through the campus from the area around St George’s Church through to the Arts Tower, extending the existing ‘gold route’ from the railway station to Devonshire Green.

A number of roads around the campus will be restricted to traffic – either permanently or with access for part of the day – or with one-way movement only.

The closure of Leavygreave Road East in particular will lead to three bus services – the 51, 52 and 95 – being diverted by turning right onto Clarkson Street, near the children’s hospital, then down Durham Road to Glossop Road.

A new pedestrian and cycle crossing will be installed on Western Bank, linking the Arts Tower forecourt to Hounsfield Road, while the existing crossing will be moved away from the roundabout junction.

The university will create a landscaped courtyard in front of the tower with a water feature, trees, lawns and a café. This area will link to Weston Park via a ‘garden terrace’.

Meanwhile, another green space called University Square will sit at the heart of the campus and new trees, meadow grasses and hedgerows will be planted around St George’s Church.

On Upper Hanover Way, the crossings by the tram stop will be aligned with one other. The crossing near to the roundabout will be moved closer to the Supertram tunnel and split to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

A report to the committee says: “Doing nothing is not considered an option. The number of pedestrians crossing Western Bank is huge and at peak times the existing crossing cannot cope. Pedestrians are often seen standing on the road.”

Around 90 pay and display parking spaces will be lost because of the changes.

Work is pencilled in to start this summer, with a completion date of late next year.