Route through Frenchgate to Doncaster railway station set to be closed at night to save £15,000
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The South Mall, which passes Sainsbury’s and connects St Sepulchre Gate with Trafford Way, has been traditionally left open after shops have closed to allow train passengers access to and from the station.
However, councillors are set to approve plans to close the walkway to help save City of Doncaster Council cash.
According to papers, which will go before the council on Monday, its closure would save £15,000 a year on upkeep and maintenance.
The council proposal has been supported by Frenchgate bosses.
It is not the first time closing the walkway has been put forward.
Back in 2018, an angry Doncaster resident launched a one-man crusade to keep the route open, saying that its closure would mean rail passengers facing 'inconvenience and a longer walk.'
Andrew O'Brien was left fuming after he discovered that his normal route he had taken through the shopping centre ' for years' was closed and he had to take a longer route which caused him to miss his bus.
Bosses at the shopping centre locked the doors between 8pm and 7am over what he was told were 'security issues' and that passengers heading for the transport interchange faced a longer walk, outdoors along West Laith Gate.
He said the route through the mall was an historic right of way, dating back to when the centre opened as the Arndale Centre in 1968, and launched the battle to get bosses to re-open the stretch, which is approximately 100 metres in length.
Said Mr O'Brien: "It came to light when I had been out in Doncaster for the night a few weeks ago. I went to catch my bus and found the doors locked.
"By the time I had walked the much longer route along West Laith Gate, I had missed my bus and that made me pretty angry.
"I'm sure there will be lots of people who have been in a similar position and won't be happy about the route being closed."
Before the closure, people using the route at night would enter the shopping centre through the doors alongside the corner butchers’ store and exit at the other side along Sainsbury's before using the pedestrian crossing on Trafford Way to reach the railway station and transport interchange.
The new route saw travellers passing the Tut 'n' Shive pub on West Laith Gate, passing the rear of Sainsbury's and using the same crossing to complete their route to the station.
Added Mr O'Brien: "To older and disabled people, that route isn't acceptable. It is outdoors, it is about four to five minutes longer and it isn't a nice or safe route to take in my opinion.
"Can you imagine having to walk that way on a cold winter's night?
"I've been doing some digging and found that it is an historic right of way and by rights, they have to keep it open. That dates back to when it first opened as the Arndale in 1968.”