Holiday Inn Express removes river bridge barrier in Sheffield following complaints
A footbridge which was blocked off by a hotel, angering people trying to access the city centre, has reopened.
The Holiday Inn Express erected a barrier across the footbridge over the River Don at Castlegate, which leads to the Five Weirs Walk off Blonk Street, last year.
It stopped people using the bridge for work or leisure and cut off the Riverside area, which is being regenerated as part of the Grey to Green development.
City centre ward councillor Douglas Johson says the footbridge has now reopened and criticised the hotel for blocking it off in the first place.
“I am obviously very pleased this footbridge has been opened up so that people who want to enjoy Sheffield’s riverside can do so more easily.
“When the hotel closed the bridge to public access, the biggest impact was on cyclists and disabled people.
“It can never be right for private businesses to close off public access. This bridge was paid for with public money as part of the Wicker improvements some years ago and designed to facilitate access to the new hotels in the area.
“I, with the other City ward councillors and local residents, have been asking council officers for some time now to take appropriate enforcement action against this blatant blockage of public access.
“Taking action has consumed a huge amount of officer time from many different departments. This has taken away resources from the many other pieces of work that urgently need their attention to make the city centre a safer and more pleasant place to live and work in.”
Holiday Inn Express originally said it had erected the barrier to reduce antisocial incidents around the hotel and to protect its guests and staff.
A spokesman said it was still working with the council. “The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is our number one priority and we continue to work closely with Sheffield Council to secure a permanent solution.”
Sheffield Council was unavailable for comment.