Sheffield Council debate on all-day bus lanes on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road postponed

A council debate on controversial plans for all day bus lanes on two key Sheffield roads will not take place this month.

Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 2:00 pm
Ecclesall Road twelve hour bus lane proposal
Ecclesall Road twelve hour bus lane proposal

A petition against the bus lane plans for Ecclesall and Abbeydale roads, started by a woman who works at a salon on Ecclesall Road, has so far gained 6,747 signatures.

The petition was originally slated to be debated at a council meeting on January 12, but this meeting was cancelled because the authority could not find a suitable venue.

The debate will now take place on February 2 at Ponds Forge at 2pm and will be an in person meeting. Because the petition passed the threshold of 5,000 signatures, when it is presented it will trigger a debate.

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There will be a response to the petition from Coun Douglas Johnson, who is in favour of the plans, and then a response from a councillor who is opposed.

This will be followed by a half hour debate, after which the person who presented the petition will have a right to reply.

Fierce debate has raged for weeks on the plans, part of the £55m Connecting Sheffield scheme which aims to encourage people to switch to walking, cycling or public transport, ‘particularly when commuting to work’ to combat climate change and improve health.

There is support for the plans from others who say public transport needs improvement, that the congested roads are not pleasant to visit and that more needs to be done to tackle climate change.

But traders’ concerns centre around part of the plan which would prevent vehicles parking, stopping, and unloading on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road between 7am-7pm. They say customers will go elsewhere and independent businesses will suffer as result.

Those who signed the petition arguing against the plans were able to leave a comment giving their reason for signing. James Grabiniok said: “This is just a ridiculous idea with no thought given to the businesses and surrounding areas it would have an impact on, such a joke.”

Andrew Hall added: “I think the proposals would make life difficult for businesses along the two roads and also for people with limited mobility who need to be able to park along these routes.”

Steve Lee said: “Businesses will suffer with this scheme from a collapse in trade when they need all the help they can get and parking driven on to side streets disrupting residents.”

Improvements to bus stops are also in the plans, including better seating and real-time updates.

Traffic lights could be reprogrammed to turn green when a bus approaches for up to five miles from the city centre to the suburbs.

Other proposed changes include moving bus stops to improve traffic flow and new laybys.

The postponement of the debate comes as the final day for locals to have their say on the plans approaches, as the public consultation will close on Friday January 21.

The consultation has received more than 3,000 comments, and opinion has been mixed, with many concerned about the cost the plans will cause to small businesses, and others in favour of improved traffic flow and reduced pollution.

The consultation is available to read and comment on here