No plans to water-down Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road parking ban plan despite Sheffield petition

A top councillor has said there are no plans to water down proposals for a parking ban on two of Sheffield’s main roads despite thousands of opponents signing a petition.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 3:01 pm

Douglas Johnson said it was important to go through all the responses in an organised way to ‘work out what people are saying’.

More than 6,750 have signed a petition opposing plans for 12-hour bus lanes on Ecclesall and Abbeydale roads.

Any petition over 5,000 signatures sparks a debate at a full council meeting, which is ‘in person’ at 2pm on Wednesday February 2 at Ponds Forge.

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Coun Douglas Johnson said it was important to go through all the responses in an organised way to ‘work out what people are saying’.

WHAT ARE IN THE PROPOSALS?

The plans also include several junction changes, London-style ’red route’ no stopping zones and traffic light sensors that favour buses. The aim is to encourage people to ditch the car to improve health and combat climate change.

Coun Johnson, the leader of the Green Party in Sheffield, said a lot of people would benefit from bus lanes ‘working properly’.

Access for businesses was probably the most important thing and bosses were split on that, he added.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed warned the changes could boost the night time economy and ‘turn Ecclesall Road into West Street’.

But there were no plans to water down the proposals.

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He said: “It is useful to know who will be impacted and get the responses in an organised form to work out what people are saying. Only then can we start considering changes.”

There was no timescale for when they could be imposed, he added, although he hoped the consultation would support junction improvements which could be done ‘quickly’.

A petition on Change.org started by Melissa Wilde, manager of the Hairband hairdressers on Ecclesall Road, right, states the parking ban would ‘majorly’ affect residents on nearby roads and businesses that rely on access to the main road.

“There are technical changes that will allow buses to run more smoothly. I’m hoping we can get them through relatively quickly,” he said.

Both roads have bus lanes during rush hour twice a day, but allow parking outside of that.

WHAT DO OPPONENTS SAY?

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Lib Dems in Sheffield and Ecclesall councillor, said a 12-hour bus lane went too far and worried business people were already not renewing leases.

More than 6,750 people have signed a petition opposing plans for 12-hour bus lanes on Ecclesall and Abbeydale roads.

He supported junction changes and moving bus stops near Hunters Bar roundabout but called for improvements to bus services first.

The council had given buses priority elsewhere in the city - such as buses-only access to Park Square Roundabout from City Road, but he said: “In return we have got cuts.”

He also warned the changes could boost the night-time economy and ‘turn Ecclesall Road into West Street’.

He said: “Shops will have to open later into the evening to remain viable and there will be an expansion of bars and late night takeaways.”

A petition on Change.org started by Melissa Wilde, manager of the Hairband hairdressers on Ecclesall Road, states the parking ban would ‘majorly’ affect residents on nearby roads and businesses that rely on access to the main road. And after two difficult years due to the pandemic, it would ‘inevitably’ force jobs losses and business closures.

The proposals are part of the £55m Connecting Sheffield scheme which aims to encourage people to switch to walking, cycling or public transport, ‘particularly when commuting to work’ to combat climate change and improve health. They include ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ in Nether Edge and Crookes and a new cycle lane on Tenter Street in the city centre.

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