Bury St Edmunds bus station staff would be axed under plans by St Edmundsbury Borough Council

Risbygate borough councillor David Nettleton is pictured at Bury St Edmunds bus station. He is conce

Risbygate borough councillor David Nettleton is pictured at Bury St Edmunds bus station. He is concerned over the future of the bus station. - Credit: Archant

Bury St Edmunds bus station would no longer be staffed and would have a new layout if plans by St Edmundsbury Borough Council go ahead.

Cabinet members at the local authority will decide next week whether to invest £39,500 in reconfiguring the bus station, in St Andrew’s Street North, into three parts – a waiting area with cafe kiosk available to let, access to public toilets and a large area for rent.

At the same time Suffolk County Council has said it will install real-time electronic bus information boards by December, which means the bus station will no longer be staffed by the borough council.

A spokesman said the council is looking to redeploy the staff – the equivalent of 3.63 full-timers – into alternative suitable roles and seeks to avoid redundancies.

Last year the borough considered the options for the bus station building, which costs £250,000 a year to run, as part of a spending review.

The spokesman said no longer staffing it would save £100,000 a year.

Robert Everitt, cabinet member for families and communities at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “These are tough times and even tougher decisions are having to be made. We have to be realistic and expect that our main source of income via central Government will continue to be reduced – and we have to be pragmatic about how we can sustain services.

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“That is why the council has a long-term ambition to become less reliant on grants and taxes and instead invest in projects like this that can make significant savings to help plug our budget gap, while also offering the potential to help generate future income.”

Julia Wakelam, borough councillor for the Risbygate ward, said: “We could end up with the staff having been made redundant, no information services and an empty building, which would not be good news.”

David Nettleton, also a borough councillor for Risbygate, said he had doubts over whether it was a viable option for the building to be a “business emporium” as well as a bus station.

He also raised concerns over safety as the toilets would no longer be accessible from within the bus station – instead they would be through an external door next to the waiting room entrance.

Mr Everitt added: “These changes will have no impact on the bus services.

“People will still be able to access the toilets, baby changing and waiting areas and the opening hours will not change.”

The council spokesman said negotiations are taking place with an organisation to keep the availability of Shopmobility scooters close to the bus station. The Apex will remain the prime location for Shopmobility.

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