Watch moment frustrated carer confronts Yorkshire councillors over street closure

This is the moment a frustrated carer challenged councillors to push her husband around the city centre in his wheelchair as she spoke out against a Sheffield street being closed to buses.

June Luxon, aged 74, confronted councillors at a Town Hall meeting – and left with promises from a senior councillor that he would indeed accompany her around the city centre and push her husband in his wheelchair.

Mrs Luxon said she had struggled since bus services were diverted following the closure of Pinstone Street and she wanted councillors to appreciate how hard it was pushing a wheelchair up through the city centre now.

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She told a scrutiny meeting: “I’m opposed to the closure of Pinstone Street because it’s the only access we have to the theatres and other areas.

Pinstone Street in SheffieldPinstone Street in Sheffield
Pinstone Street in Sheffield

“In March I challenged all 84 councillors to push my husband up Arundel Gate and up Furnival Gate but nobody accepted my challenge. I challenge this committee now to push my husband from Arundel Gate up to Orchard Square.”

Coun Douglas Johnson, Executive member for transport, said there were different disabilities and the committee had heard from some disabled people who found the changes beneficial.

He said: “That’s not to diminish your problem as we accept there have been some difficulties.

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“There is scope for major transformation about the whole accessibility of the city centre and there are many people with many types of disability and with designs of any schemes it’s easy to cause disadvantages for other people.

“You mention going to the theatres and that’s one of the routes where there’s an improvement because the bus stops are much nearer so that’s one of the advantages. If you get off at the old Redgates, that makes it much more level access to come to the top of Fargate.”

Coun Dawn Dale then interjected and said: “Douglas, you still have not answered this lady’s questions. Are you or the officers making these changes prepared to push this lady’s husband, to experience what carers are having to deal with when pushing people through the city centre?”

Coun Douglas Johnson said if it helped to demonstrate a point then would consult with Mrs Luxon on a time to do that.

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Mrs Luxon replied: “You name the date and the time and me and my husband will come on the bus and meet you and anyone else.”

Coun Mick Rooney said: “If Douglas really wants a test of how fit he is, he might want to try pushing a wheelchair from the railway station up Howard Street. That would test you.”

Coun Mark Jones then interjected that several councillors would also volunteer.

Chair of the meeting, Coun Denise Jones, said: “Coun Johnson has accepted your challenge, and I’m sure we’ll get a report from that. We’ve got some volunteers so they may do it as a relay.”

Pinstone Street was closed to traffic last June for social distancing but now restrictions have eased, councillors need to make a decision on whether to reopen it.