The Residents Against Station Closure (RASC) group are planning a further demonstration at Sheffield Rail Station at 4.30pm on Friday 24th September 2010. Everyone is welcome to support the demonstration, which has all party support, with speakers including Labour’s Paul Bloomfield MP, Paul Scriven, the Liberal Democrat Leader of Sheffield City Council and Jillian Creasy from the Greens.
The demonstration has been prompted by East Midlands Trains (EMT) increasing the frequency of “human barriers” to block the pedestrian footbridge through Sheffield Rail Station and are provoking local residents, who are increasingly frustrated by their antics. RASC were appalled to learn that 45 people who were “cautioned” trying to cross the bridge at Sheffield Station on 2nd September. Press Officer Graham Wroe commented, “EMT’s behaviour is completely outrageous. They have no authority to stop pedestrians crossing the bridge, as Sheffield Station is not a Compulsory Ticketing Area. It is EMT that should be cautioned for obstruction.
Keith Hayman, chairperson of RASC commented, “We will continue to peacefully assert our right to cross the footbridge. We do not condone abuse of EMT staff, neither do we feel they should abuse the public. Many reports we have received over the months indicate that the abuse has come from EMT staff. We question the role played by British Transport Police who supported EMT staff rather than the public and their rights. We will be writing to them to ensure that in future they take account of the rights of the pedestrians.
The bottom line is, EMT must not be allowed to continue to obstruct our footbridge!”
Sheffield Civic Trust recently made representations to the City Council to support the protection of this vital pedestrian link between Park Hill and the City Centre. RASC are also lobbying Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, to instruct the Transport Minister to change the franchise agreement with EMT so that the Sheffield footbridge is permanently open to pedestrians.
On Thursday 9th September, the City Council’s Transport Sub committee decided to set in motion the establishment of a Public Right of Way. Both RASC and Sheffield Civic Trust fully support the City Council’s resolution to permanently protect this vital pedestrian route through the city which has universal support of local residents and, indeed, all other key stakeholders.