Sheffield Council extends consultation on major bus changes to Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road due to local business concerns

Consultation on plans which give priority to buses on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road is now to be extended into January due to concerns raised by local businesses.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 12:45 pm
Ecclesall Road twelve hour bus lane proposal
Ecclesall Road twelve hour bus lane proposal

Sheffield Council leader Coun Terry Fox confirmed today there had been 3,000 responses to the consultation so far, and that it would now run until January.

He said he would be personally visiting traders affected by the plans, which aim to get more people using active travel to help fight climate change.

The announcement comes after businesses on Ecclesall Road spoke to Coun Douglas Johnson about their concerns earlier this week.

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Traders’ concerns centre around part of the plan which would prevent vehicles parking, stopping, and unloading on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road between 7am-7pm.

Coun Fox said: “The council was consulting on proposals to give greater priority to buses on Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road. However, there is a lot of concern from local businesses stating that they have only just become aware of the plans, and do not feel engaged with properly.

“The original public consultation was due to end yesterday but I have taken the decision as leader to extend this until 21 January.

“It is of paramount importance that local businesses are involved in the process and able to have their say. We’re all aware of the massive difficulties traders are under due to the Covid, and we’ve got to support them, and make sure the council is listening to what they’re saying.”

Traders also say they have calculated the number of drivers who visit their businesses and the two roads set to be affected by the changes.

Some business owners say they back much of the plan but that banning parking will mean customers go elsewhere.

Coun Fox added: “The consultation has already had nearly 3,000 responses which is fantastic, but there is still real anxiety from many local businesses about the plans. These need to be heard.

“As well as extending the consultation I will personally meet with the local traders to listen to what they have to say and help encourage them to be part of our conversations going forward.

“We’re committed to public transport, tackling climate change, and reducing emissions but this all has to be done in a way that is fair and just. You’ve got to give time to hear all views and the more engagement you have the better!”

Fierce debate has raged for weeks on the plans, 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.

There is support for the plans from others who say public transport needs improvement, that the congested roads are not pleasant to visit and that more needs to be done to tackle climate change.

Improvements to bus stops are also in the plans, including better seating and real-time updates.

Traffic lights could be reprogrammed to turn green when a bus approaches for up to five miles from the city centre to the suburbs.

Other proposed changes include moving bus stops to improve traffic flow and new laybys.

To take part in the consultation click here