New road would cut through popular Sheffield cycle route
Hundreds of people have signed a petition opposing a new road which would cut through a popular cycle route in Sheffield.
A developer wants to create a new access road for trucks and other vehicles to the old Outokumpu steelworks near Wincobank, north of Meadowhall, which it says would enable the vacant site's regeneration.
But the short stretch of road, running from Grange Mill Lane beside the M1, would cut across route 67 of the National Cycle Network, which is part of the Trans Pennine Trail and is well used by walkers, runners and cyclists.
More than 300 people have signed a petition opposing the planned road, next to the Royal Oak Inn and just south of the 'Christmas Crane' site which is known for the festive decorations which festoon the towering machines every year and are visible to drivers on the M1.
Bridget Ingle, who started the petition, claimed the plans would negatively impact hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists regularly using the route.
"The proposed road would cut right through what I call the main green network through Ecclesfield and Wincobank, which is one of the only safe, traffic-free routes between local communities and Meadowhall," she said.
"The road would provide access to an 11 hectare site, which is the size of 11 football pitches, meaning there would be a steady flow of traffic which would have priority over pedestrians and cyclists, severely restricting access along the Trans Pennine Trail.
"That goes against efforts to promote a more active lifestyle in an area which has the highest obesity rate in the city."
Ms Ingle also raised concerns about the planned development of the flood plain, through which Blackburn Brook, a tributary of the River Don, runs, claiming local roads were already prone to flooding.
And she warned it could affect plans for the Brendan Ingle Way, honouring her late father, the legendary boxing coach, part of which would run along the Trans Pennine Trail.
Plans for the access road, submitted by Selenium Developments, include a raised crossing for pedestrians and cyclists where it meets the cycle route, but there would be no lights at that junction.
The application states: "The proposals will provide a new access road to serve the wider development site and enable future development to come forward."
It goes on to claim the plans would improve pedestrian and cycling links by replacing the existing narrow footpath off Grane Mill Lane with a shared footpath and cycleway.
And it claims the crossing for pedestrians and cyclists would be a 'safe' one using the same measures utilised to the south and north of the site.
Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Cycle Sheffield and the Friends of the Trans Pennine Trail are among the organisations to have objected to the application.
Out of 44 public comments, 39 oppose the plans, with only five in support.
Several opponents claim that not only would the access road negatively impact upon the Trans Penine Trail but it would create more traffic on a route already widely used as a cut-through by HGV drivers.
However, the handful of supporters say they welcome anything which promises to bring a new lease of life to the former steelworks, generating jobs to replace those which were lost when it closed.