We have won this battle, but the class war is not over.

Plans for ticket barriers at Sheffield railway station have been refused on the grounds that they would affect the character of the listed building. East Midlands Trains wanted to install the barriers to combat fare evasion. The move was widely opposed because it would have led to the closure of a pedestrian footbridge which links homes behind the station to the city centre.

The Planning Board today unanimously rejected East Midlands Trains proposal to install barriers at the station. Further more the chairperson, Councillor Tim Rippon, advised East Midlands Trains that they shouldn’t bother appealing against this decision. I think a celebratory drink is in order! Thank you everyone who has played a part in this campaign.Together we have won a victory for common sense and ordinary Sheffielders over the money grabbing corporate interests of East Midlands Trains who want to privatise our public space.

The people of Sheffield have won this battle, but the war may not be over. East Midlands Trains are threatening to continue with the “human barriers”. RASC will not stop campaigning until EMT stop preventing people from crossing the bridge

Sheffield is proud of the station and the region has spent £50 million on the award-winning refurbishment of the station and the immediate vicinity. The resulting refurbishment is described as a world class gateway to the city (In this SYPTE article.)

The footbridge links communities and organisations on both sides of the station. It is one of the few truly integrated transport networks in the area uniting as is does, the tram stop, the station and the Sheffield Interchange (explained on this council video). The bridge is particularly important for wheel chair and push chair users as the only alternative bridge is completely inaccessible, so a very large diversion would be required. Go here to see a Sheffield Council photo presentation on the area, including the alternative bridge (pdf document).

The link through the station is also central to the City regeneration strategy as it provides a direct route for future occupants of the massive Park Hill scheme to access the Golden Route into the city centre.

The next meeting of rasc will be at Victoria Methodist Church, Stafford Road, on Monday December 7th at 7pm

“This decision by the planning board adds to the long list of people who believe that closing the footbridge would be a disastrous mistake. “People are justifiably outraged at the idea that our footbridge, paid for with £15m of taxpayers’ money, could be shut off by a private company for the purposes of profit.”

East Midlands Trains said it was “clearly disappointed” by the decision. A spokeswoman said: “We believe we put forward high quality plans, which support the crackdown on fare cheats and protect honest fare paying passengers, as well as ensuring continued unhindered access for residents and providing additional enhancements to Sheffield station.

“Whilst we take time to consider our options going forward, we will continue with the rolling programme of manual ticket checks which has been in operation at the station since May.”

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