Station visit puts barrier plans in spotlight again

Controversial: Residents and politicians have held repeated protests against barrier plans at station.
Controversial: Residents and politicians have held repeated protests against barrier plans at station.
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GOVERNMENT officials were today visiting Sheffield rail station to discuss their proposals for ticket barriers with council and rail company representatives.

A delegation from the Department for Transport, which wants ticket barriers to be installed to reduce fare dodging on trains, will be shown the problems the plan will cause.

The plans have provoked anger from residents of Norfolk park and Park Hill and Supertram passengers who use the station footbridge to walk into the city centre.

Plans for barriers could see the bridge restricted to rail ticket holders only.

Politicians of all parties in Sheffield, including Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg, support the residents’ campaign to keep the bridge open

DfT officials will also be shown possible alternative locations for the barriers, such as on platforms.

A DfT spokesman said: “Officials from the department are having a site visit to Sheffield Station to discuss whether barriers should be installed.”

East Midlands Trains says plans to install barriers on platforms rather than the bridge are also problematic.

The firm has revealed listed platform buildings could have to be demolished to ensure there is sufficient room around the barriers.

Buildings which could be at risk include the block housing toilets and the Pumpkin Cafe between platforms 2 and 5.

Residents Against Station Closure, battling the plan and keep the bridge open for public access, say the Dft should instead ensure there are more staff on trains to check passengers’ tickets and reduce fare dodging. The Department for Transport estimates £2 million of revenue is lost each year in Sheffield alone.

Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield has called for a Parliamentary debate on whether ticket barriers should be installed at stations.