Sheffield Council go ahead with widening ring road despite concerns

Sheffield City Council decided to go ahead with plans to widen the inner ring road despite concerns from dozens of residents.

Friday, 1st February 2019, 3:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 3:59 pm
Councillor Martin Phipps with concerned residents

The council had a £4.6 million plan to widen the inner ring road in Sheffield to shorten bus times and allow more cars on the road.

But after a number of residents raised concerns about it increasing pollution and traffic the decision was called in for scrutiny.

It was discussed at an economic and environmental wellbeing scrutiny meeting where about a dozen residents came to ask questions. After two hours of scrutiny, it was decided that the plans would go ahead but with a closer eye on its progress. 

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Councillor Martin Phipps, representative for City ward, was the person who brought the decision in for scrutiny.

He said: “I am really disappointed that the Inner Ring Road Scheme has passed through ‘scrutiny’ tonight.

“It really seemed that the decision needed to be deferred until some of the claims could be substantiated and scrutinised, but instead was voted ahead by both Labour and Lib Dem councillors.”

He added that the meeting raised many questions and said there was not enough information available to properly scrutinise the decision. This included a lack of information on transport model details, air pollution modelling data not given and no evidence to prove bus times would be improved.

Coun Douglas Johnson, representative for City ward, said: “This whole scheme seems to be based on belief, not evidence.”

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet for transport and development, denied the report was lacking in detail and said: “This scheme will at worst maintain air quality in that area and at best improve air quality in that area. I’m quite clear that I need to take action, which will sometimes be controversial, to improve air quality but this is not an air quality scheme. 

“I’ve heard people say it is not sustainable – which is understandable but I’ve not heard anyone say it will be bad for pedestrians or cyclists.

“The stark challenges we face in our city cannot be avoided…but a scheme that improves bus times and makes it safer for pedestrians is absolutely what we should be doing.”