I believe this happened in the 60's and I wonder what failure of the then planning system allowed anyone to think it was a good idea to build a substation that blocks up half the pavement and the entrance to a staircase leading up to the station forecourt. This is especially the case when one realises that just to the left in the photo is the entrance to the disused cab tunnel and just to the right is a side street. Either of these places would have seemed a better site for a substation. Or am I missing something?
The staircase was not of great utility for passengers arriving at the station with suitcases but it was very handy for making a quick exit into the Trafalgar Street area. It would be even more useful nowadays with the burgeoning popularity of the North Laine area. Even some people needing to complete their journey by bus could find it convenient to walk down to the St. Peter's bus stops to catch north-bound buses. These factors would all help to relieve pressure on the forecourt area.
The council now has a consultation open on various options for improvements to the southern approach to the station. They all involve re-routing traffic, re-siting bus stops and taxi ranks and increasing the pedestrianised area, but two of the options also call for establishing a "new" south-eastern entrance and siting the taxi rank in Frederick Place. The question of re-opening the cab tunnel, which would be much easier for modern taxis to negotiate than it was for horse-drawn hansoms, has apparently not been considered.