Red lines: Sheffield dentist still fears effect on thousands of patients if 12-hour bus lane idea returns

A Sheffield NHS dentist has said he remains worried that thousands of patients would face problems getting to appointments if the move for controversial bus lane extensions is ever revived.
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Richard Brogden, a partner at LWT Dental Care in Ecclesall Road, was involved in protests against bringing in red routes and 12-hour bus lanes for Ecclesall, Abbeydale and London Roads as part of bus corridor plans.

Sheffield City Council’s transport regeneration and climate policy committee agreed in July to go ahead with junction improvements and traffic management changes at or near six junctions along the roads and camera enforcement on existing sections of the bus lanes, without extending their operating hours.

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The decision followed a sustained Save Our Streets campaign by businesses on all three roads to get the red routes idea scrapped because they would lose street parking outside their premises.

Sheffield dentist Richard Brogden fears that bringing in a red line route or parking restrictions outside his practice on Ecclesall Road would cause serious problems for thousands of patients. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRSSheffield dentist Richard Brogden fears that bringing in a red line route or parking restrictions outside his practice on Ecclesall Road would cause serious problems for thousands of patients. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRS
Sheffield dentist Richard Brogden fears that bringing in a red line route or parking restrictions outside his practice on Ecclesall Road would cause serious problems for thousands of patients. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRS

However, Mr Brogden is still concerned the idea may return in future if the road changes don’t bring about the required improvements to bus reliability.

He backs all the other changes to the routes but says that eight dental practices and other healthcare providers on those roads would suffer major problems if 12-hour red routes are ever imposed.

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Mr Brogden said: “It really is a serious issue for me. We have 14,500 patients in our practice and we are the second or third biggest in S10 and S11. We’ve got a lot of people to service.

Pictured right is LWT Dental Care on Ecclesall Road, near Hunter's Bar, Sheffield. Dentist Richard Brogden is opposed to any return of daytime parking restrictions by extending bus lane hours. Picture: Jon CooperPictured right is LWT Dental Care on Ecclesall Road, near Hunter's Bar, Sheffield. Dentist Richard Brogden is opposed to any return of daytime parking restrictions by extending bus lane hours. Picture: Jon Cooper
Pictured right is LWT Dental Care on Ecclesall Road, near Hunter's Bar, Sheffield. Dentist Richard Brogden is opposed to any return of daytime parking restrictions by extending bus lane hours. Picture: Jon Cooper
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“We have a high proportion of elderly and frail patients who rely on being able to park outside the practice so they come between 9.30am and 4.30pm, when the bus lanes are not in force.”

He said that the loss of street parking along the South West Bus Corridor would affect access to dental services for 53,000 patients in eight dental practices, as well as other healthcare providers such as physiotherapy clinics, osteopaths and chiropractors.

Mr Brodgen said he really appreciates the approach to the issue taken by committee chair Coun Ben Miskell, as opposed to his predecessor, Coun Mazher Iqbal. He said Coun Iqbal took a unilateral approach of declaring red routes “off the table”, a pledge that was not followed through with.

He said: “That put us on the back foot because everyone is saying ‘it’s gone’. We are now saying is it on the table or not on the table? Nothing’s off the table.

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“That’s really critical because the council are being very vague with what they’re saying.”

Mr Brogden added: “When this all started brewing nobody wanted extended bus lanes. Our patients are still saying that.

“We know this bus lane extension is going to affect access to businesses, access to healthcare.”

Based on his research with his own patients, who overwhelmingly arrive by car, Mr Brogden estimates that at least 12,500 dental surgery patients across all the affected dental practices would struggle to visit the dentist if on-street parking was lost. That includes elderly and disabled patients.

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Mr Brogden said that the vibrant nature of independent businesses in the area also needs to be protected and said he would welcome improvements to the streets to make them more attractive and welcoming.