Leaking fountains outside Sheffield station blamed for ice hazard

The approach to Sheffield station has been left resembling an ice rink as water leaking from the fountains freezes over, it has been claimed.

A councillor has called for the busy pathway from the station to be routinely gritted to protect the thousands of passengers using it every day.

Ice on the forecourt outside Sheffield station

Ice on the forecourt outside Sheffield station

Douglas Johnson, Green Party councillor for the City ward, says he saw three people take a tumble within 90 seconds of each other on Monday and branded the state of the walkway ‘really dangerous’.

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He said the station forecourt, which is owned by Sheffield Council, is only gritted by council contractor Amey if someone complains about it being icy. By the time it is flagged up, he added, it is often too late.

He believes this and other key footpaths and cycle routes around the city should be included in Sheffield Council’s routine gritting programme, which currently only covers major roads.

Councillor Douglas Johnson outside Sheffield station

Councillor Douglas Johnson outside Sheffield station

He has also demanded urgent action to fix a leak on the ‘Cutting Edge’ steel fountain leading from the station, which he says was reported before Christmas.
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“The fountains are a great landmark but also really dangerous when the water freezes over the pavement,” he said.

“This has been raised by a number of people who’ve fallen there, but nothing’s being done.

“It just seems crazy that this key walkway isn’t treated as a priority by the council because it’s not a road.

Councillor Douglas Johnson says the approach to Sheffield station should be gritted routinely when freezing temperatures are forecast

Councillor Douglas Johnson says the approach to Sheffield station should be gritted routinely when freezing temperatures are forecast

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“It should be gritted ready for the rush hour whenever needed, rather than waiting for someone to complain every time it gets icy.”

After Coun Johnson tweeted on Monday morning, calling the situation ‘disgraceful’, and saying the pathway needing gritting ‘urgently’, the Streets Ahead team responsible for maintaining the city’s roads responded to say his request had been logged and a team was en route.

Richard Eyre, the council’s head of the city centre, said that when it snowed Amey would clear the snow from the forecourt and spread grit, and when ice was reported the contractor would spread grit there within an hour.

He also explained that the water feature was set to automatically turn off when the temperature falls below a certain point and could be switched off manually.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, he added: “With freezing temperatures predicted, the water flow has been turned off until the temperature rises again.”

“We will review the current settings to make sure the fountain is turning off at the right temperature, to help prevent icy patches accumulating in the future.

“Public safety remains a priority and we would ask that people take extra care during icy periods.”

East Midlands Trains owner Stagecoach, which is responsible for running the station, said since the area in question was owned by the council the issue was ‘not one for us to comment on at this stage’.