Campaigners plan station bridge demo

A PROTEST is to take place on Friday as part of the row over installing ticket barriers at Grade Two-listed Sheffield station.

Campaign group Residents Against Station Closure (RASC) will be "re-asserting the right" to walk across the station footbridge at 4.30pm on Friday, March 19.

A spokesman for the group said: "This is in response to East Midlands Trains' actions in continuing to close the footbridge whenever they choose.

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"The demonstration is being supported by all three political groups on the city council. Paul Scriven, Jan Wilson, Rob Murphy and Paul Blomfield will all be speaking."

Station owner East Midlands Trains wants to introduce barriers to stop people without tickets from accessing the platforms and therefore stop fare dodgers.

But campaigners oppose the idea because the barriers would prevent people using the station footbridge, which links the city centre with the community around Park Hill flats.

East Midlands Trains, part of public transport group Stagecoach, was forced to submit a planning application for the barriers as the station is a listed building.

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This application was unanimously rejected by councillors on Sheffield Council's planning committee, who described the scheme as "appalling".

RASC chairman Keith Hayman said: "We are very disappointed that East Midlands Trains have not taken the council's advice and thought of a way to stop fare dodging that doesn't massively inconvenience the general public.

"We have been campaigning against these plans for two years, with the overwhelming support of the Sheffield public.

"East Midlands Trains, on the other hand, continue to harass and annoy travellers with their human barriers that prevent people walking through the station.

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"They have even insisted the door to the Sheffield Tap public house to the platform should not be used at certain times."

RASC has already carried out several demonstrations, including protest walks across the bridge, and a large protest rally on the station concourse.

Members of the campaign have collected the names of more than 1,200 people to formally object to the plans.

RASC press officer Graham Wroe said East Midlands Trains was determined to close the footbridge to everyone whenever there was a ticket check. Such a heavy-handed approach to ticket checking was unnecessary and RASC was determined to maintain footbridge access.

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