“I will stand in front of the bulldozers if necessary” the fight for Sheffield General Cemetery continues

Campaigners objecting to the construction of new parking bays at Sheffield General Cemetery have continued to clash with the council over proposals.

The number of bays was reduced from 14 Pay and Display spaces to three disabled bays after the original plans sparked outrage from the community.

The council have said the car park will make the cemetery more accessible for people with reduced mobility, however campaigners have said the plans will do the opposite.

Exactly one year on from the controversial approval, campaigners from Save Our Green Spaces Sheffield (SOGOSS) have said they will continue to fight.

56-year-old campaigner, Wendy Hebb, who has a disability said: “How do I feel a year on? If I had my time again I would do it, definitely, we’d have stopped it at the planning meeting, I believe that.

“We’ve learnt so much in the past year, we’ve not all had the expertise, none of us are consultants in this field but we’ve all read and done whatever we can to raise the bar.”

Campaigners have expressed concerns about the opening of a new pedestrian entrance to the area, because of its proximity to a main road and blind corner.

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Campaigners have claimed the proposed new entrance is inaccessible for disabled pedestrians

“You can’t offer disabled access for people in wheelchairs if they arrive in a car, but if you arrive in the wheelchair as a pedestrian you’re faced with a much more difficult route into the cemetery.

“It’s disadvantaging a huge amount of the community,” Wendy said.

A second petition calling on the council to remove certain aspects from the planning application has received over 900 supporters in four weeks and campaigners feel the tide is turning.

At the Celebrate Our Cemetery Park event on Saturday, Wendy described a “Spartacus moment” when campaign leader, Jim Dimond refused to compromise.

Jim said: “We will not compromise on the pedestrian entrance, we will not compromise on the car park, and I for one, will stand in front of the bulldozers if necessary’ and someone shouted ‘I will’ and somebody else shouted ‘I will’, and everybody just went crazy.”

The council have created a Site Management Committee to look at the planning in detail and two of the campaigners, including Wendy, have been invited to join.

“They recognise that we’ve got more knowledge of this project than most people and they’re finally listening,” she added.