Active Neighbourhoods Sheffield: Fire safety concerns over road blocks as public share views

They have sparked controversy across Sheffield.

Monday, 13th June 2022, 1:59 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 2:00 pm

And now fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’, involving road blocks, in Sheffield.

Some residents in both the Crookes and Walkey zone, and the Nether Edge zone have expressed opposition to the schemes, which are being rolled out on a six month trial on their streets, and public meetings will be held in Crookes to discuss the measures in the coming weeks.

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Fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield. Pictured are planters in Crookes active neighbourhood.

Sheffield Council claims an Active Neighbourhood creates a safer, cleaner and quieter environment for residents and local businesses.

It says residents wanted changes made to the area such as less traffic, safer streets for walking, and a nicer place to spend time outside.

But the scheme effectively involves blocking roads and stopping traffic taking certain routes – with some residents telling the Star they are seeing no benefits. Some back the scheme. One former councillor, John Hesketh, said last week it would harm local businesses, and some angry residents have upended planters which have been put in place to block off traffic.

The Star has asked residents what their views are of the Crookes and Walkley scheme.

Fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield. Pictured are planters in Crookes active neighbourhood.

Resident Marie McLaughlin said: "I’m not quite sure what it’s fully about. I’ve been told that it’s to encourage people to walk more. I don’t feel it’s doing that for me.

Active Neighbourhood leading to cars driving extra mileage

"I feel people are still using their cars as much but just driving extra mileage to get to where they want to go, so I don’t think it’s achieving what it’s supposed to be.

"I walk a lot. I have a dog, but I walk anyway. I’m really conscious that if I am using my car, I’m going round in circles.”

Fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield. Pictured are spaces where planters have been planned in Crookes active neighbourhood.

She added after planters were put in place blocking Romsdal Road, the road where she lived had started to see cars zooming up what would normally be a very quiet road, which had elderly people and children living on it, causing concerns over accidents happening.

Those have been moved, temporarily.

"Drivers seem to be really frustrated. Since that one was removed, it’s a lot better,” she added.

fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield. Pictured is Marie McLaughlin

Another resident, Wendy Woodhouse, said she did not think the active neighbourhood zone was a good idea at all, and said residents were concerned it could stop emergency services reaching houses.

She said: “I understand it could be good around the school, if people are parking in dangerous places, but apart from that it’s a very bad idea.

"There was a fire in the next road to me, and the fire engines had a problem turning round. It also concerns me that the old age pensioners going to the church to the luncheon club will have trouble parking there.”

Andrew Chapman, a non-driver, said: “I think they shouldn’t block any of the roads off at all – there should still be the normal access both ways for everybody going up or down.”

He said he thought it would affect a lot of people negatively. “It’s very hard to see what the good will be, quite honestly,” he added.

fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield. Pictured is Wendy Woodhouse

Cax Langham said: “It’s definitely caused a lot of controversy – a lot of talk about it. Could be a good thing but I do think at the start it’s going to cause a lot of mayhem, and I think it’s definitely going to be rejigged.

Joshua Nathan was supportive of the plan. He said: “I think it would be quite a good idea because the traffic at the moment is quite bad – it’s quite tough for a pedestrian to walk around. I think it would be good to reduce the pollution and allow more footfall around Crookes.

Rebecca Ford added: “I think it’s a good idea. I think a lot of space in the city is given to cars and it would be better for the environment. In some places it would be better for traffic if there were more pedestrian friendly zones.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service said they could not find any mentions on their log of planters causing access problems, but said they did sometimes have problems with access due to double parking.

They added: “Whilst we appreciate people want to park as close to their homes as possible, we need a three metre gap to get our fire engines down a street. Every second counts when it comes to getting our firefighters to an emergency. So, next time you park, please consider whether an emergency vehicle could get through. How would you feel if we were delayed getting to your house?”

Sheffield Council has described the six month trial implementation of the scheme as formal consultation.

Councillor Julie Grocutt, chairman of the transport, regeneration and climate committee at Sheffield City Council, said last month: “These changes are very new, and we know it will take some adjusting. As we trial the schemes over the next few months, we want as many people as possible to share their feedback with us on what has worked well and what could be improved.

“The aim of introducing Active Neighbourhoods is to make residential areas nicer places to get around, and easier for people to make their journeys to school, the shops or a friend’s house by walking or cycling.”

How to give your views on the Crookes and Nether Edge Active Neighbourhoods

Crookes councillors have arranged three public meetings for people to give their views and ask questions.

The Connecting Sheffield team is taking comments on [email protected]

The meetings will be attended by officers from Sheffield’s transport planning department present, along with the three ward councillors, Coun Ruth Milsom, Coun Minesh Parekh and Coun Tim Huggan.

They are on Wednesday June 29 at Wesley Hall, Crookes, 1pm-4pm; Thursday June 30 at St Vincent's Church, Pickmere Road, 6.30pm-8.30pm; Saturday July 2 at Wesley Hall, Crookes, 11am – 2pm.

fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield. Pictured is Andrew Chapman
fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield.. PIctured is Cax Langam
fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield. Pictured is Joshua Nathan
fire safety is among the issues that have been raised by residents who opposed new ‘active travel zones’ in Sheffield. Pictured is Rebecca Ford