Coun Terry Fox had an outburst at full council about the concrete blockades which have been placed around the city centre.
His fellow Labour councillor Anne Murphy prompted him by asking: “Can the Leader share what opportunities there are now for the heart of the city, and what public transport issues can be developed?”
Coun Fox robustly replied: “We are investigating many opportunities to open up the city centre, the Executive is putting forward a one year plan that will show our ambition.
“If I could get a saw I would go and cut every bloody gate on Pinstone Street, on Leopold Street, on Surrey Street.
“I would like to investigate every opportunity for opening up that city centre. Radisson Blu is coming, I’ve already asked citizens for their thoughts on where we go with Cole Brothers and there are other opportunities regarding opening up.
“The one plea is that if we are getting buses and people in the city centre, we get them to where they want to go.”
Pinstone Street was blocked off to all traffic during lockdown and the council previously said the ban was set to be made permanent.
When asked after the meeting if the council was doing a u-turn, Coun Fox said he needed to look at the consultation.
“If you walk round this city and see gates across roads, what does that say to you? It doesn’t say that the city is open – and it is.
“We need to make it look more attractive and welcoming. I’m a new Leader, I have my views and I know that accessibility has been raised as a concern.
“We just want to take a moment to make sure we’ve got things right. I need to look at the consultation, I need to speak to elected members and the Executive, and I need to look at the evidence.
“I think that’s a reasonable position to make sure we can deliver for the people of Sheffield.”