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Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Sheffield prepares for the Liberal Democrats conference
Sheffield City Hall prepares for the Spring Liberal Democrats Party 2011
Access will be restricted through Barker's Pool during the conference

As Sheffield prepares for the Liberal Democrats' spring conference, security in the city centre has been stepped up.

The three-day conference which starts on Friday will be held at the City Hall.

It is estimated that South Yorkshire Police (SYP) will have 1,000 officers on duty each day patrolling the city centre, with the county's helicopter, police dogs and horses on standby ready to respond.

Fences 8ft (2.4m) high have been erected in Barker's Pool, the area outside the hall, limiting access through the area and to nearby shops.

Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg told BBC Sheffield in February that the benefits the conference would bring to the city would outweigh the cost of policing.

"I'm sure there will be people who want to protest," he said.

"But I hope there will be people heavily voicing their opinions, strongly if they want, inside the conference hall."

We will be doing everything we can to minimise community disruption.
Supt Martin Scothern, South Yorkshire Police

Protests have been planned by several groups, including the Sheffield Anti Cuts Alliance which plans to demonstrate outside the City Hall.

Martin Mayer, chairman of the group, said: "We are planning a very big, noisy, peaceful demonstration against the Liberal Democrats.

"The fact is, people are very angry. People have seen a complete betrayal of the promises that were made in the general election."

South Yorkshire Police has appealed to those who intend to protest to contact its dedicated protest liaison team which has been set up for the event.

Supt Martin Scothern said: "We will be doing everything we can to minimise community disruption. However, there will be some degree of inconvenience experienced for the conference to take place."

Holly Street (from West Street to Balm Green), Balm Green, Carver Lane, Holly Street West and Barker's Pooll will be closed between 0700 GMT on Friday and 1500 GMT on Sunday.

There will also be disruption to public transport with buses being diverted. Full details can be found on the Travel South Yorkshire website. Parking restrictions will also apply in the city centre.

Walk way in front of John Lewis, Barkers Pool in Sheffield
Public transport, parking and access to shops will be restricted

Despite the police's contingency plans, some businesses have expressed concern.

Claire Heald, assistant manager at Lynne's Pantry on Surrey Street, said: "A couple of people are nervous in case anything kicks off. We're hoping people won't be put off visiting, hopefully it will be good for business."

Etienne Hairdresser's on Division Street said: "A lot of clients have cancelled appointments that they have made. It's driven business away for us. I think everyone is concerned."

Although it has been estimated that the cost to South Yorkshire Police for covering the event will be around £2m, the police have said that the full cost will not be known until after the event.




SEE ALSO
Protest unit for Lib Dem police
22 Feb 11 |  Sheffield & South Yorkshire
Police cuts will 'affect service'
19 Feb 11 |  Sheffield & South Yorkshire

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