Free bus service set to launch in Sheffield city centre
A major road through Sheffield city centre looks set to remain closed to traffic indefinitely.
The closure of Pinstone Street has been rumbling on for months with opinion divided on whether it should reopen to buses and taxis.
A special Executive meeting will be held next week and a full report is due over the next couple of days but it’s understood the plan is to keep the blockades in place.
At the same meeting, Sheffield Council will agree to implement a Clean Air Zone from next year, meaning polluting buses, taxis, vans, coaches, minibuses and lorries will need to pay a daily charge to drive in the city centre.
The council is hoping to provide a free electric bus service which would travel around the Pinstone Street and Barkers Pool area.
It would help ferry passengers who have complained they have had much further to walk since their normal buses were diverted.
A bid has been made to the Government for the electric bus but it may be possible for the council to find the money from its own capital budget next year.
It would cost £1m to buy three electric buses and the council would need to set aside £427,000 per year running costs.
An electric bus could be a compromise as there’s been controversy since Pinstone Street was closed in June last year to create space for social distancing.
It was described as semi-permanent at the time but there’s been protests from bus passengers as 36 services were diverted.
Businesses along Surrey Street have also objected, saying customers are struggling to reach them and passing footfall has dropped.
But cyclists say the road closure has made the area safer and more pleasant and the city centre residents association, ChangingSheff, said reopening the road would ruin new developments.
The council has £16m Future High Streets fund to spruce up Fargate and some councillors believe pedestrianising Pinstone Street would enhance those improvements, provide more scope to have events on the street and the Peace Gardens, and provide a better setting for the new Radisson Blu hotel currently being built.