Letter: Divide on Pinstone Street is risking the recovery of Sheffield city centre

This letter was written by Barbara Masters, Liberal Democrat councillor for Ecclesall.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 9:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 9:42 am

The debate on the closure of Pinstone Street is becoming more polarised and increasingly acrimonious.

When both sides become entrenched in their views and determined to win the argument at all costs Sheffield that loses out and with that, all of us in the long run.

The closure of Pinstone Steet to all vehicles and the creation of wider pathways and cycle spaces is ideal for city centre residents, the young, the fit and those who enjoy a café lifestyle.

The closed road on Pinstone Street. Picture: Chris Etchells

But what about the many others who don’t conveniently fit into these categories? The disabled, those with mobility problems and businesses reliant on people being able to access their premises are the most obvious losers.

Before any final decision is made surely we need a vision of what we want our city centre to become.At present there are two stark choices, an ‘urban suburb’ that suits its residents or back to business as usual, which wasn’t working pre-Covid. Our city centre needs a range of facilities that appeal to residents, other Sheffielders and visitors alike.

For years development has been piecemeal with elements being added in attempts to catch up with trends that work elsewhere.

This is Sheffield though with its own character, non-conformist in attitude, topographically challenging, a rich and varied industrial and cultural heritage and lots more.

We desperately need a city centre plan that acknowledges the positives and the limitations these present to its successful development.

It’s a no brainer that any plan will allow people to move safely about the city centre and breathe in clean air.

It’s also a no brainer we need a better transport system that gets us where we need – or want – to be if we are to reduce our reliance on cars.These are not mutually exclusive, but that concept seems to have eluded the members of the current administration. The existing arrangements brought in in response to the pandemic have now become an ideological battle ground for the Greens and Labour. It was an experiment. It should inform the ‘discussions’.

Instead we have two parties determined to play to their support base regardless of wider concerns.There are alternatives but while both parties believe only they hold the solution these won’t even get a look-in. They speak ‘co-operation’ but practice exclusion. They put at risk the recovery of our city centre through their intransigence.