Voters punished Sheffield Greens over Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road bus lane plans, claims businessman

A businessman claims the Greens lost a councillor in their Sheffield ‘heartland’ due to plans for parking bans on two main routes.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 12:50 pm

Andy Grice said voters had sent a strong message to the party that there was little support for the proposed changes, on Ecclesall and Abbeydale roads.

Nether Edge and Sharrow ward - which is sandwiched between the two streets - was an all-Green stronghold, but lost one of its three councillors in the local elections in a surprise swing to Labour.

Mr Grice, owner of the The Dark Horse micropub on Ecclesall Road, claimed the party was being punished for its ‘disregard for the community’.

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Andy Grice of The Dark Horse on Ecclesall Road.

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Sheffield City Council is proposing 12-hour bus lanes from 7am-7pm weekdays on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road, enforced by strict London-style ‘red routes’ – which ban almost all other vehicles from stopping, waiting or loading – to combat climate change and improve health.

Some 3,456 people responded to a survey, which found 48 per cent felt negative about the proposals, with 39 per cent positive and 13 per cent neutral.

Mr Grice said: “The election sends a strong message that there is little support for the bus lanes. And the bad press for the Greens and lack of understanding for local issues and disregard for the local community has truly backfired.”

The plans would create 12-hour bus lanes, backed by 'red route' parking bans.

Some 6,950 people have signed a petition against the proposals. A Facebook Group called ‘Say No To Red Lines’ for ‘local business owners and concerned parties’ has 1,400 members.

Mr Grice said his business at Banner Cross sees 30 delivery vehicles a week which would struggle if parking were banned.

The proposals were already damaging because people were not taking tenancies on Ecclesall Road, he claimed.

Nighat Basharat with Stuart Croydon of Abbeydale DIY, discussing the proposed traffic changes in December.

And he feared parking restrictions which ended at 7pm would see an explosion of takeaways and hospitality businesses, converting the popular shopping road into a ‘night-time economy’.

The Greens were hoping to see Graham Wroe elected in the elections earlier this month, but Labour’s Nighat Basharat swept to victory with 3,165 votes and a 533 majority.

Ms Basharat voiced her concern after meeting local business owners on Abbeydale Road in December.

She said then: “We knocked on the doors of local residents who had heard nothing about the plans or heard about it via social media rather than receiving information from the council.

“They were also concerned about the impact on local businesses who have already faced significant challenges throughout the pandemic.”

The city council says it sent postcards with information about the bus lanes to 16,231 addresses on Abbeydale and Ecclesall roads and a letter to 1,163 businesses.

Some 3,680 responses were received, ‘a high response rate’ for a city transport consultation, a report states. And it showed the public and businesses were ‘well informed of the consultation’.

Some 1,146 respondents said 12-hour bus lanes, and the loss of parking and loading spaces, would have a significant negative impact on businesses. A further 29 said they would be the ‘death’ of the area.

The report adds that details of possible locations for red lines will be considered following the engagement period and will be consulted on formally through a Traffic Regulation Order in 2022.

The Greens were contacted for comment.

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