Traders mount new appeal over bus gate

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WICKER traders are set to attend a Town Hall meeting to make a further plea for hours of controversial bus gate restrictions to be relaxed - but highways officers are recommending no change be made.

A review of the 24-hour restrictions will be held at Sheffield Council’s cabinet highways committee meeting on Thursday at 2pm.

It was ordered last year after councillors ruled out relaxing the hours on safety grounds due to the potential for drivers to make a banned turn onto the inner ring road, into the path of pedestrians crossing the road.

Traders want the bus gates, which prevent motorists driving the length of the street across the new inner ring road junction, to be relaxed so ordinary traffic is allowed in the evenings and early hours.

A neighbouring council has solved the same safety concerns at an identical junction by erecting signs and building kerbs which make it difficult for drivers to turn and traders want Sheffield to consider doing the same.

Farooq Hussain, of Manu Salwar takeaway on the Wicker, who says his trade is down 60 per cent since the bus gates were installed, said: “Myself and other traders had not been told about the meeting. We are planning to make it along to give our views. We still want the restrictions to be relaxed.”

In 2009, the businesses gave a 2,000 signature petition to the council urging the bus gate hours to be cut.

They said customers were finding it difficult having to take longer routes around backstreets to reach stores.

But Simon Green, executive director at Sheffield Council responsible for highways, said in his report to councillors: “No businesses have ceased to trade. Imran’s restaurant has expanded into the first floor of their premises and planning permission has been granted for a restaurant at the Woodside Travel shop, not used for many years. Planning permission has also been sought for a fried chicken restaurant.”

He added there has been a ‘gradual decline’ in drivers being fined for driving through the bus gate, with average penalties per day falling from 54.7 February to April 2010, to 41.5 in the same period of 2011.