Sheffield bus lane plans - proposals for Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road will 'not be pushed through'

A Sheffield councillor has said that controversial plans for a 12 hour bus lane on Ecclesall and Abbeydale Road will not be pushed through to meet funding deadlines.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 5:00 am
Plans for a 12 hour bus lane along Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road have been controversial, with more than 5,000 people signing a petition against the proposal.

Consultation on the proposals has been extended into this month after local businesses raised concerns about how changes would affect their trade.

Now Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson, executive member for climate change, environment and transport, has said that he is not concerned about the March 2023 deadline listed for completing funded transport work.

Some £50 million in funding was secured by Sheffield Council last year for the Connecting Sheffield schemes to improve walking cycling, and public transport infrastructure in Sheffield and encourage active travel.

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Douglas Johnson said that there were other sources of funding available for the bus lane plans, and it could be self sustaining. Picture: Chris Etchells

Under the terms of the funding, all funded work must be completed by 2023. Part of the final Connecting Sheffield project includes plans for a 12 hour bus lane on Ecclesall and Abbeydale Road, plus giving priority to buses, among other improvements and changes on those streets.

However, Coun Johnson has said that this plan will not be rushed through in order to take advantage of the funding.

He said: “It is not necessarily dependent on the Transforming Cities funding. “Transforming Cities funding is just one form of funding, and there are several rounds of that.

“It could possibly be self funding so there would be no additional cost. When bus lanes are put in a lot of people will infringe on them, there will be parking tickets so that might meet the cost. But it depends on how it is designed.

On a visit to Ecclesall Road in December, one shopkeeper told Douglas Johnson that it seemed he hadn't thought the plan through.

"This particular round of funding isn’t the only one available. There is no reason the consultation couldn’t run into 2024 - there is always that balance between wanting better buses and people not wanting things to change, as well as some genuine concerns about unloading. There is no pressure to push the bus lanes through because of the funding."

Johnson added that other parts of the consultation are more time dependent, such as changes to junction layouts and timing changes, which involve costly design work.

He added: “That is where we need to get in responses so that we can then get on with the business of implementing those changes.”

The consultation runs until January 21 at https://connectingsheffield.commonplace.is and there have been more than 3,000 comments so far.