Councillor Bernard Little gave the following speech to the crowds gathered outside the station following Friday’s protest march.
“The walkway across through the station should be a public right of
This is public space…. not private space….. and it should remain
The problem is that this space is legally owned by a privately rail
The railway station is a public system., part of what should be an
integrated public transport system, that we, as members of the public
and as tax payers have paid for.
Yes it is right that we should try to keep open negotiations with the
station operator..however distant and unaccountable they are even at
this hour. It is a disgrace that Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for
Transport has failed to use his powers to reverse this decision.
However the problem of an operator working in this high handed and
cavalier fashion will not go away until we have a government
prepared to stand up for us and re-nationalise the railways. It is
outrageous that this private public service gets such a huge public
subsidy but will not act in a publicly responsible manner. The rail
system is a public service and it needs to be brought back into
The station footbridge is a vital link for both staff and students of Sheffield City College, where I work and Sheffield Hallam University. EMT’s proposal will increase journey times, forcing people to use a dark unlit bridge or make a considerable detour.It will undoubtedly persuade some people to use their car instead.
The alternative bridge is totally inaccessible for anyone with a wheelchair or pushchair. I’m six foot three, and it frightens me to walk through, so goodness knows how young students are supposed to manage.
This campaign has magnificent support from a very diverse group of organisations, including all the city councillors and all the MP’s. If EMT are allowed to get away with stealing our footbridge it will mean that democracy in this case, has been defeated by big business, whose only concern is the shareholders dividends. But we are not going to let them do that. We will keep protesting. This is Sheffield’s Station, not EMT Station! We will not have barriers here!
The protest was also supported by the local Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and local residents from RASC.