Sheffield traders say footfall has almost halved since Pinstone Street closed to traffic

Traders say footfall has almost halved since a major road through Sheffield city centre was closed to traffic.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 3:44 pm

Elaine Bird, of Birds Opticians on Surrey Street, told a full council meeting that footfall had dropped by 40 per cent since Pinstone Street was closed.

The road was blocked in summer 2020 to allow social distancing but 36 bus routes had to be diverted. While some bus services improved, there have been complaints from passengers who have to walk further to reach Fargate.

Mrs Bird said: “If the city centre is for everyone, not just the fit and able, then everyone needs good and easy access.

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Pinstone Street was blocked in summer 2020 to allow social distancing, and it has not yet been decided if the closure will be permanent

“Established businesses are suffering loss of trade and are being told on a daily basis that regular customers won’t be coming again as it’s too difficult for them to reach us.

“We are being told that many of our customers who have been coming for decades will no longer come because of transport difficulties.

“Taylor Taylor’s barbers has been in the same position for 110 years, their business footfall is down 40 per cent and shows no signs of recovering.

“Cycling to work may be possible for council employees who will no doubt be provided with secure storage for their bikes but this is not an option for many of the employers in the city centre.

“Suggestions to use a bus stop almost a quarter of a mile away as an alternative to Arundle Gate is not an easy option for many people.

“We are not asking for all traffic to return to the city centre, just buses which we have been repeatedly told is a green alternative to the car.

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“If people with mobility issues cannot easily use public transport, if they have a car, they will be tempted to use that instead.”

Coun Douglas Johnson, Executive member for transport, said the council was in a difficult position trying to balance the different needs of people.

“In the 110 years since Taylor Taylor opened up shop, things have changed quite a lot and the city centre is now very much more of a residential district than it was 30 or 40 years ago,

“There’s 20,000 people who will actually live directly in the city centre and that changes the whole essence of retail and services that’s provided.

“It has had a big improvement on the buses and those changes have rationalised the buses so they can get through the city centre much more quickly

“If you wait ages for a bus to come and then two come at once that’s because they’re bunched up in the city centre with the congestion that was there before with buses continually going down Leopold Street, Pinstone Street, down to The Moor at snail’s pace.

“Releasing that has made big improvements and you see that in places like Wincobank and Lowedges where the reliability of the network really makes a difference.”