A trial closure of one of the entrances to a station in a Yorkshire city has been blasted by a council leader as “absolutely bonkers.”
The side entrance at Paragon Station, backing onto Anlaby Road, in Hull, will be shut seven hours a day during a three-month trial by TransPennine Express, which manages the station, from June 17, to improve security, with customers diverted on to Ferensway.
Classical music will also be played and extra security laid on in a bid to deter low-level anti-social behaviour.
However council leader Steve Brady said it was placing a “huge burden” on elderly and vulnerable people, and was “cracking a nut with a sledgehammer”.
The car park, as well as dropping off points for private hire taxis and other visiting vehicles, are next to the side entrance, meaning travellers will either to cross a hotel carpark, or take a short detour round the front of the station.
TpE says there will be information posted at the gate to allow disabled and vulnerable people to contact station staff and have the gate opened for them.
But Coun Brady said: “As far as I’m concerned it is their problem to secure it - it is basically saying travellers aren’t welcome. It’s giving into all these characters.”
He added: “I want us to oppose it in the strongest possible terms. We do not want it, we do not support it and we want it challenging.”
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Transport campaigner Adam Fowler said: “This is an extremely well used cut through between Anlaby Road and the station and they want to close it from 9.30am to 4.30pm, which is the busiest time of the day.
“As well as causing significant inconvenience to people using the station, it is giving the wrong message that our city centre is not safe, when it is the opposite.”
Sgt Jamie McGowan from British Transport Police said it was part of a crime reduction plan, including two extra officers, as well as additional security staff during the trial.
Sgt McGowan said he would be reviewing the results on a weekly basis and would have a fortnightly meeting with the train operating companies.
“If we are finding it not beneficial and not helping, with it being a trial it can be stopped - there’s no permanence at present.”
He said there was a lot of low-level anti-social behaviour, including begging at the Anlaby Road entrance, shoplifting and criminal damage.
“There’s a general feeling particularly among station staff, it is not a particularly nice environment to be working in.”
Area Director for bus operator East Yorkshire Ben Gilligan said the vast majority of their customers came in by other entrances.
He said: “If this has to be done we will find a way of working round it. There is a problem of anti social behaviour which needs to be resolved.”