Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 10:31 UK

Sheffield station ticket barrier plans put on hold

Lord Adonis
Lord Adonis said he had been in talks with East Midlands Trains

Ticket barriers will not be installed at Sheffield railway station before a new footbridge is built, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has announced.

The move follows a campaign against the plan which residents said would block a vital thoroughfare into the city for people living behind the station.

Lord Adonis said East Midlands Trains (EMT) had agreed to hold back the plan.

However, the Conservatives accused Labour of timing the announcement to boost its vote at the election.

The dispute centred on the station's central footbridge which takes rail passengers to their platforms, but also provides a pedestrian link between the city centre and the Park Hill and Norfolk Park areas, which are cut off from the city centre by the railway lines.

'Way forward'

In November 2009, Sheffield City Council rejected EMT's plans to introduce ticket barriers on the grounds that they would affect the character of the listed building.

The train company said it was "considering its position and options going forward".

Lord Adonis told BBC Radio Sheffield: "We have been working with East Midlands Trains over recent weeks.

"I am glad that we have found a way forward that means the residents in Sheffield will still be able to get across the station even if they are not travelling by train."

Geraldine Roberts, vice chairman of the campaign group Residents Against Station Closure, said she was "absolutely delighted" by the news.

"If he is saying there won't be any gating until an alternative suitable footbridge is in place then I think we won't lose either way," she said.

'Hollow gesture'

Andrew Lee, the Conservative candidate for the Sheffield Central constituency, said: "I would like to know why it has taken Labour until the time they need votes in the city to make an announcement on this subject that people care so much about.

"I mean we are in the middle of a general election campaign and they have made this announcement.

"To me it is a hollow gesture and I'm sure the people of Sheffield can see through it."

Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Scriven said: "At a time when the chancellor is saying there will be greater cuts than under Thatcher the government says it is gong to waste our taxes on a second bridge to stop barriers going in.

"You are asking the people of Sheffield whether they want millions of pounds of hard-earned taxes going on this bridge at a time when we are talking about possible cuts to health and education.

"This is a bonkers idea from a bonkers government which is trying before an election to seem like it has come up with a solution."

Candidates so far announced for Sheffield Central are: UK Independence Party: Charlotte Arnott; Labour: Paul Blomfield; Conservative: Andrew Lee; Liberal Democrat: Paul Scriven; Green: Jilian Creasy; British National Party: Tracey Smith.

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