‘Don’t throw us under the bus’- Ecclesall and Abbeydale road businesses’ concern over Red Line Bus Lane proposal

Business owners on Abbeydale and Ecclesall roads in Sheffield have voiced their mounting concerns over the city council’s plan to impose 7am – 7pm bus lanes along both roads. 

This will prevent any parking, waiting or deliveries during business hours on roads where parking is already scarce due to extended permit-only zones. 

The council justifies the camera-controlled bus lanes saying they are necessary to reduce congestion and make public transport more reliable.

Businesses and residents alike have rallied together to publicly challenge the proposal with an online petition on change.org gaining over 12,000 signatures.

Wako’s Wardrobe, an independent vintage clothing store on Ecclesall Road, expressed its frustration with the bus lane proposal.

Co-owner Brayden Wakerley said: “Implementation of the red lines is 100% going to reduce footfall and therefore trade.

“In times like these, where people’s budgets are stretched, this added barrier for consumers to spend is the last thing independent business needs.”

Mr Wakerley’s business has no other nearby parking except for the Tesco car park, which is privately owned and already busy; unlikely to hold the overflow from the whole road.

Spirals, a gift shop on Ecclesall Road, is another of many businesses outraged by the plans.

Owners Annette and David Ritchie have been trading there for 34 years and said they have had no consultation with the council at all on the matter. 

The Ritchies said they believe bus lanes will have “a devastating effect on our and all the other businesses on this road”. They have taken to social media to gain public support for the petition. 

Cllr Douglas Johnson, Executive Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport said: ‘It’s currently difficult for people to get public transport because buses don’t get priority.”

Cllr Johnson argued that the extended bus lane hours will increase public transport use and therefore help cut air pollution.

However, charity shop Sheffield Cat Shelter said in a social media post that they rely on having parking outside its shop when people bring larger donations.

“They unfortunately cannot do this on a bike or bus,” they added.

It is one of many charity shops on Ecclesall Road that will be adversely affected if the proposal goes ahead.

The Sheffield Cat Shelter posed the question to the council: ‘How many businesses do you want to see close?’

The bus lane plans are part of the £55 million Connecting Sheffield project which is trying to encourage greener transportation within the city. But many businesses say this has been without much thought of the wider impact on trade.

The businesses are taking further steps to prevent the proposal, including a meeting held yesterday (Monday) in The Dark Horse Bar to discuss the next steps in their campaign.

They hope to prove to Sheffield City Council how detrimental 12-hour bus lanes would be to trade and to the livelihood of the businesses. 

Owner of Abbeydale Carpets and Flooring, Paul Froggatt, is part of a Facebook page dedicated to preventing the ‘Red Line’ bus lanes.

Mr Froggatt said on the site: “Abbeydale Road will end up being full of boarded up empty shops like it was before.”

Written by Estelle Coulter

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