Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009

Rail ticket barrier plan rejected

Sheffield Railway Station
Residents fear the ticket barrier plans will cut them off from the city

Plans for ticket barriers at Sheffield railway station have been refused on the grounds that they would affect the character of the listed building.

East Midlands Trains wanted to install the barriers to combat fare evasion.

The move was widely opposed because it would have led to the closure of a pedestrian footbridge which links homes behind the station to the city centre.

Councillors agreed with a report which said the barriers would be detrimental to the station's Victorian facade.

The report said the barriers did "not provide sufficient width to cater for disabled access" and would "adversely affect the open character of the stone faced arches".

People are justifiably outraged at the idea that our footbridge, paid for with £15m of taxpayers' money, could be shut off by a private company for the purposes of profit
Paul Scriven
Council leader

It added: "The scheme of works will create additional visual clutter and the proposed cabling works will be visually intrusive.

"As a result the proposals will have a harmful impact on the station's special architectural and historic interest."

Residents protested outside the town hall before Monday's planning meeting.

A group set up to fight the plans, Residents Against Station Closure, said they had received "overwhelming" support from residents, all the city's MPs and several community groups.

Firm 'disappointed'

Council leader Paul Scriven said: "This is great news for anyone who uses our footbridge to get to work, or to their homes, or to do business in the city centre.

"This decision by the planning board adds to the long list of people who believe that closing the footbridge would be a disastrous mistake.

"People are justifiably outraged at the idea that our footbridge, paid for with £15m of taxpayers' money, could be shut off by a private company for the purposes of profit."

East Midlands Trains said it was "clearly disappointed" by the decision.

A spokeswoman said: "We believe we put forward high quality plans, which support the crackdown on fare cheats and protect honest fare paying passengers, as well as ensuring continued unhindered access for residents and providing additional enhancements to Sheffield station.

"Whilst we take time to consider our options going forward, we will continue with the rolling programme of manual ticket checks which has been in operation at the station since May."

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