No decision on controversial Sheffield city centre road closure one year on

A year after a major Sheffield city centre road was closed to traffic, arguments still rage about whether it should be permanent - and the city council has yet to decide its fate.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 12:11 pm

Pinstone Street was closed in June last year to create space for social distancing in its lower reaches near Furnival Gate.

But that meant the rest of the road - including outside the Peace Gardens and Town Hall - and parts of Leopold Street had to close too, while Surrey Street became a dead end.

The huge change - described as ‘semi-permanent’ by the city council - sparked protests from businesses and bus users, with some 27 services re-routed to stops a quarter of a mile away.

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Busy bus lane Pinstone Street was turned into a bike and walk path a year ago - now work on a multi-million pound hotel has started.

But others welcomed it for creating a more peaceful and enjoyable environment better suited to walking and cycling.

Meanwhile, work has started on a multi-million pound hotel project fronting on to Pinstone Street. Radisson Blu applied after the road closures.

A ‘Travel Plan’ states: “It is considered these changes are temporary, given the planning and build-out timescale of the hotel scheme.”

Vehicular access to the hotel would be to the rear while Pinstone Street is anticipated as the ‘principal pedestrian access’.

Council leader Terry Fox. Picture: Chris Etchells

It is not known if the hotel company prefers Pinstone Street closed to traffic.

In response to a request from The Star, a spokeswoman emailed: “Unfortunately we do not have anyone available for an interview at the moment.”

Last week new council leader Terry Fox waded in saying he would he would ‘cut through every b****y gate’ to open up the city centre.

He later added: “The issue here is, if you walk round this city and see the gates up across roads, what does that say to you? It doesn’t say that the city is open – and it is.

“We do just want to take a moment to make sure we’ve got things right.”

A resident in Councillor Fox’s Manor Castle ward urged him to reopen the road on ‘Freedom Day’, Monday July 19, when Covid restrictions are lifted.

In an email he stated: “As you are aware the closures were made under the guise of Covid distancing measures and what better opportunity will your party get to gain electorate approval - with no 'loss of face'?”

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.