Make cycling around city an attractive option for our new university students

In three weeks we in Sheffield welcome students new and old to our city, their vibrancy signalling the end of the quiet summer months and providing a well needed jolt to the local economy as well.

CycleSheffield would like to see these young people moving around the city by sustainable means - walking and cycling. This means we need to have our cycle routes clean, free of litter and broken glass, maintained and properly signed.

The Streets Ahead PFI has started to make a difference to Sheffield with many roads being re-surfaced and more to come. However, the situation with cycle routes is not so rosy.

Everywhere we go we see paths that are overgrown, strewn with litter and broken glass and with signs pointing the wrong way.

The council’s contractor, Amey, needs to up its game if it wants us to believe that it takes sustainable transport seriously.

First impressions are very important and it is imperative that these routes are brought up to scratch before the students arrive, otherwise the impression that Sheffield is a city that doesn’t really care about walking and cycling will last. CycleSheffield is well aware that it is often a small minority of students who cause problems on these routes in the first place, and expects the police to deal with acts of vandalism regardless of who causes them.

Simon Geller

CycleSheffield spokesperson

Irony around loss of wonderful old building

Your article about the demolition of Jessops Hospital included a quote from Keith Lilley that cited the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) as evidence that the University’s appointed contractor, Balfour Beatty, will be saving important and salvageable features as questioned by the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society.

The aims of the CCS are to raise the profile of the construction industry by showing care and consideration to the local community whilst operating a major construction site.

I am sure Balfour Beatty will comply with all the requirements of the CCS and Mr Lilley’s quote sounds like it was cut and pasted straight from Balfour’s tender submission.

Balfour Beatty will leave as much demolition materials on site as possible as this cuts down transport costs and the need to import new materials.

They will crush and reuse all the brickwork and stonework as hardcore aggregate for internal hardstanding areas.

They will sell all metalwork for scrap and send away all timber for conversion to sawdust and fuel. In short, and on economic grounds, everything that can be recycled will be.

However for Mr Lilley to use the CCS as evidence that antique features are being salvaged almost certainly means they are not.

And how ironic that the aims of the CCS are so much in conflict with the loss of such a wonderful old building.

Paul Williams

High Storrs Rd, Sheffield

Fracking would have a catastrophic impact

We don’t need to rely on information from “other countries” (John C. Cripps, Sheffield Telegraph 29/8/13), to know that the impact of fracking on our countryside would be catastrophic.

The industry itself states that by 2020 there may be 1,000 fracking sites in operation.

The RSPB, which has done extensive research, suggests that in the north of England alone there could be 100,000 wells.

Each site, the size of five football pitches, would require heavy lorries to transport sand, water and drilling gear and take out waste water and gas. New roads, depots, buildings and security fences would need to be erected.

There would be constant light, traffic, noise and air pollution as sites work 24/7.

Mr Cripps has a touching belief that our regulatory system will ensure that fracking is “well controlled”, surely misplaced when you think of the ‘regulation’ of the banks (PPI scandal, Libor fixing scandal, drugs money laundering scandal), energy companies (profiteering), water companies (fined for polluting rivers) etc, etc.

Although I agree that the Peak District National Park Authority currently do a sterling job of protecting our beloved Peak District, our present government heavily supports the fracking industry and has demonstrated that it will change the remit of public bodies at will to suit its political aims. For example, who would have thought that the profit making, 300+ year old Royal Mail would be sold off, or the NHS privatised or that planning regulations for building on green belt land would be relaxed?

Not only would fracking ruin our glorious countryside but it would increase our carbon emissions.

So it’s hats off to Charlotte Farrell and the Green Party (Telegraph 29/8/13), for opposing it and it’s a great pity that the other political parties are not taking a stand.



Well done to the Denys Edwards Players

I, like your critic, Paul Tyree (Telegraph August 16) had the good fortune to get tickets to see Denys Edwards Players production of ‘Carries War’ at the Crucible Studio (13-17 August).

As Paul Tyree said in his piece, this was a most remarkable, and professional production. The standard was exceptionally high and the performances by the young evacuees was stunning.

It was also interesting to note that several of the young cast had been members of the former Abbeydale Picture House Youth Theatre. What a wonderful legacy that organisation has given to youth drama, and what a great shame that the city could not support the project.

But none the less, well done to D.E.P and let’s see more of your excellent support for Youth Theatres.

E Ashley

Hunters Bar

Just moving trade from place to place

Why is there now such a difference between licensing decisions and planning policy?

Planning officers seem to have struck a good balance between nightlife and residential amenity by restraining the proliferation of pubs and restaurants along Ecclesall Road and controlling late night opening hours. By contrast, councillors responsible for licensing decisions are doing all they can to allow late night drinking close to housing.

In June the decision was taken to allow a new club on 1-3 Dover Road to open to 1am every night of the week.

Now the licensing committee seems keen to push through plans for a new licensed bar on Ecclesall Road with a license until 11.30pm in the face of resident concerns and planning policy (Telegraph last week).

At least the planners are taking residents into account. Licensing seems to be swayed by dubious arguments about economic viability. By and large a new bar simply moves trade from one part of the city to another.

Aidan While

Dover Road, Sheffield