Active Neighbourhoods Sheffield: Angry Crookes and Walkley residents call for end to controversial pilot scheme

Angry residents called for an end to a controverial ‘active neighbourhood’ pilot as Sheffield Council officers heard concerns over safety and businesses.

Saturday, 2nd July 2022, 10:39 am

Around 70 attended a consultation event at St Vincent's Church, Crookes, where locals expressed opposition to the scheme which blocks off several roads in the area. None who spoke expressed support for the scheme, which one resident said ‘would fail if it was a GCSE geography project."

Several said it should be stopped.

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Angry residents raised concerns over the Crookes Active Neighbourhood scheme at a meeting at St Vincent's Church

It emerged one set of planters used to block streets had to be removed because they were not included on a legal highways order.

One speaker explained concerns over access for pensioners to luncheon groups at St Timothy’s Church, Slinn Street, attended by residents in their 80s and 90s, and brought by minibus. Council road blockage left minibuses, as well as hearses and cars for weddings and funerals, having to try difficult three point turns among double-parked cars.

Another expressed concern the scheme was having a knock-on effect, increasing traffic on nearby Crookesmoor Road.

One woman warned she feared the scheme would create difficulties for ambulances if someone had a heart attack.

Angry residents raised concerns over the Crookes Active Neighbourhood scheme at a meeting at St Vincent's Church. PIctured are Crookes and Walkley councillors who attende the event

She said: “Ambulances don’t have authority to drive through planters.”

She said many in the area were pensioners – who would not be cycling – and were negatively affected by the scheme.

Businesses also raised concerns.

Donna Beech, who runs a business on South Road called for the ‘experiment’ to be stopped now, warning businesses could be closed by the end of the six month trial, which started in April.

She said: “Things are difficult, everyone is struggling. But the impact of this is going to cut us off from a lot of our customers, from Crookes to Walkely and Walkley to Crookes. I’ve spoken to 19 businesses. We all feel the same. You mentioned an experiment, a six month trial. We’re saying we won’t be here in six months. The council has not thought this through. They’ve not even come to Walkley, they’ve just looked at a flat map."

Andy Bosworth, who runs the Cobden View pub, warned the scheme created cul-de-sacs where people had nowhere to turn, which developers would not be allowed to do.

Another woman accused the council of starting its ‘experiment’ without the consent of the people involved in the experiment.

“It is clear it is not a good idea and is causing people distress,” she said.

David Whitley, senior transport planner, Sheffield Council, said the scheme was an ‘experiment’.

He admitted the council was aware there would be people who would drive further and increase exhaust emissions.

He said there would be 13 locations where people would be counting car journeys, but there was no percentage target to base a decision on, and said a majority of people not wanting the scheme may not mean it was ended after the pilot.

They would consider issues such as people’s perception of safety.

He said feedback was being taken on board and details would be adjusted.

The council had been given Government money that could only be used for this purpose.

He said the ‘experiment’ could not be stopped early because six month traffic orders were in place, and consultation was a part of the ‘pilot’.

He said people were asked for feedback before the scheme started.