Opinions split on road changes to serve new city supermarket

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PLANS for a wide-ranging revamp of roads in north Sheffield, to accommodate a new Asda supermarket, have divided opinion among the public.

Sheffield Council carried out a consultation with people living close to the site of the new superstore in Parson Cross on the highway improvements that will need to be made when the supermarket – which has already gained planning permission – is built.

These changes include putting in new traffic lights on the main A61 Halifax Road at both Deerlands Avenue and Chaucer Road, altering a number of roundabouts, moving bus stops, creating a new access road for delivery vehicles and providing a shared route at roundabouts for both cyclists and pedestrians. Double yellow lines would also be put in on some roads that are currently used for parking and waiting.

However, while Sheffield Council's own consultation has resulted in 73 per cent of respondents saying they "fully support" the proposals, and a further 18 per cent of people say they "partly support" them, just 20 per cent of the 446 properties that were contacted bothered to submit a response.

About 90 people, therefore, responded to the consultation - whereas a further 279 have signed a petition protesting against proposed parking restrictions in Wilcox Road, next to Foxhill Medical Centre.

At a meeting of Sheffield Council's cabinet highways committee tomorrow, members will discuss the results of the consultation and recommend that the proposed highways changes are progressed.

In a report set to go before that meeting, council officer Mark Simons says that a number of locals have objected to the plans, including those patients from Foxhill Medical Centre, as well as residents on Chaucer Road who will no longer be able to park outside their homes.

His report says: "The proposed waiting restrictions on Wilcox Road and the service roads are to ensure the junctions and crossing points are kept clear of parked vehicles in the interests of road safety and the efficient movement of traffic.

"In view of the level of objection, the length of double yellow lines originally proposed has been reduced to minimise the impact of restrictions.

"The officer reponse to the objections from Chaucer Road is to recommend verge hardening.

"The traffic regulation order will be written in such a way as to allow parking on the verges, which will overcome the objection of on-street parking being lost."

The report adds: "The recommendations to progress the measures are based on the support from a majority of residents.

"Additionally, revisions have been made to some of the proposals, where practicable, to address issues and concerns raised by respondents."

Cash for the road improvements will come from Asda rather than Sheffield Council, which will be compelled to carry out the works through conditions attached to its planning consent.

The supermarket, which will provide up to 350 jobs, is to be built on the corner of Chaucer Road and Deerlands Avenue and is part of the wider regeneration of the Chaucer area.

Other aspects of the plans include a library, a public square, a health centre and new shops.

The new three-storey super market will have 350 parking spaces and 20 bicycle spaces, as well as a number of environmentally-friendly features such as automatic light dimming, water-efficient taps and a heat recycling system, which will use excess heat from the in-store bakery to heat the warehouse.

A spokesman for Asda said: "Overall, the new jobs created will represent millions of pounds in new salaries circulating in the area every year, at a time when household budgets are increasingly stretched."

Tomorrow's cabinet highways committee meeting, at which the roads changes are set to be agreed, takes place at Sheffield Town Hall at 2pm.