STATION FURY: 'A disaster for Park Hill flats'

ONLY last week English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley said it would be a "disaster" for Park Hill flats if Sheffield Station bridge was closed to through-traffic.

Dr Thurley was appearing in a BBC 2 programme about the 140 million Urban Splash redevelopment of the listed building when he made the prediction, adding the station bridge was 'vital to the success of the scheme'.

But, following East Midlands Trains' shock decision to close it to all non-rail passengers yesterday, Dr Thurley's disaster could be about to come true.

Urban Splash is set to create 900 apartments from the shell that looms over the city today.

And, significantly, there are plans to punch a hole in the frontage facing Park Square to provide an entrance from the city centre. Access through the station was integral to that vision.

JOIN THE DEBATE: Share your thoughts on the closure of Sheffield Station to non-passengers here and see what readers had to say when we broke this story online yesterday, click here

A spokesman for Urban Splash said: "We are greatly opposed to these plans. The bridge is a great access route into the city and we believe it would be much more beneficial for people living at Park Hill - both now and in the future - to have the convenience of this thoroughfare.

"When complete, Park Hill will be a mixed community with lots of public spaces and it's important that connectivity with the city centre is retained." An East Midlands Trains spokesman said: "We are disappointed at having to take this measure but, unfortunately, as a number of stakeholders in Sheffield are in disagreement over the gating plans for our station, we have been left with no choice.

"Had we been able to implement our preferred solution - automatic ticket gates - we could have introduced a free gate pass."

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Should this be the face of Sheffield in 2009?

95% were against the closure but it went ahead

'In short, it is a shambles'

Furious councillors have demanded Government ministers intervene immediately over the fiasco.

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