'It will finish 40 businesses' - installation of Sheaf Valley Cycle Route in Sheffield sparks alarm

Plans to close a Sheffield road to make way for a £3.4m cycle route have sparked fears it will ‘finish 40 businesses’.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 12:52 pm

Signs have gone up warning Little London Road is about to be closed to traffic at the railway bridge. Double yellow lines will be painted on surrounding roads.

The aim is to ‘reduce traffic flow and improve safety for cyclists’ between Woodseats and the city centre on Sheaf Valley Cycle Route.

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The restrictions affect connected roads too.

But a businessman who asked not to be named said: “Everyone down there is beside themselves with worry and it is a totally pointless exercise.

“The closure and double-yellow lining of Little London Road will finish about 40 businesses.

“There has been very little consultation here and although it is to be a six month experiment everyone knows it will be permanent.”

Objections to the ‘experimental traffic order’ can be made for six months from May 16, the signs state.

Arguments rage about whether Little London Road is a rat run.

The businessman added: “Little London Road is a quiet little backwater which is used very little as a rat-run. It is being turned into an unnecessary cycle route which will be little used and will cause mayhem on the Woodseats Road and Abbeydale Road traffic corridors.

“It will affect Woodseats Police response times, the Royal Mail sorting office and, more importantly, access to the dialysis unit for patients coming in from Chesterfield.

“It will also become a no-go area at night if there is no through route. Abbeydale Road will become even more traffic clogged during the day, increasing the already heavy traffic fumes.”

The Sheaf Valley route - plus extension.

Last year, council transport officer Matthew Reynolds told The Star it was ‘one of Sheffield’s biggest rat runs’.

He added: “There is a lot of traffic which avoids Chesterfield Road and Abbeydale Road and it finds its way onto Little London Road in both directions.

“This is an area where we routinely get complaints from people not being able to get through.

Bollards will be installed under the bridge on Little London Road to close it to traffic.

“There is no pavement under the bridge, it’s very narrow, it’s clearly not designed for modern use and is incredibly restricted.

“It’s one of the areas where we get lots of feedback from cyclists saying Little London Road is a good route but we’re constantly squeezed out, mainly under the bridge, but also through the parking on Little London Road.”

Mr Reynolds added: “Tiny interventions can open up roads to cyclists and make a huge difference.

“One minor change can be a magnet and can draw a lot of people who currently aren’t cycling and suddenly feel they can.”

The Sheaf Valley route will extend from Pond Hill to the bottom of Woodseats Road and is part of a long term approach to help more people bike and walk called Connecting Sheffield.

Coun Douglas Johnson, leader of the Greens in Sheffield, previously said: “We fully recognise that we are facing a climate emergency and that we need to strengthen our economic and social foundations in the short and long term.

Signs have gone up warning of road closures.

"Our successful future will depend on investment in a safe, high-quality network for walking and cycling.”

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