Bus station will move, says councillor

THOUSANDS of campaigners trying to save a town's run-down bus station need to realise they have lost and give up their fight, a council leader announced last night.

THOUSANDS of campaigners trying to save a town's run-down bus station need to realise they have lost and give up their fight, a council leader announced last night.

John Jowers, Colchester Borough Council leader, said campaign group Save Our Bus Station had lost its argument to prevent the terminus moving from Queen Street to Osborne Street and it was “time for everybody to move on”.

His comments will come as a bitter blow to thousands of protesters who were hopeful an eight-week consultation announced yesterday on the controversial St Botolph's masterplan would give them with a chance to prove their case.

Mr Jowers, a Conservative, said a full council vote taken last week signalled the end for the campaigners.


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As a Labour amendment at last Thursday's meeting to keep the station at its present site was defeated, the issue was now “dead”, he argued.

“Unless something substantial comes from the consultation process - and I'd be very surprised if it did - the bus station will move.

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“The council has spoken: we're having this consultation on the overall masterplan, but the defeated amendment means the bus station argument is practically over.”

He added: “The consultation will be about fine-tuning the major proposals with new issues in a constructive manner - we want to hear from disability access groups and young people, for example. We have to move on now.”

But last night furious Colchester MP Bob Russell said: “He [Mr Jowers] has badly misjudged public opinion.

“Nothing has been excluded from the consultation process. I think Britain's oldest recorded town deserves somebody more astute.”

Tim Oxton, chairman of Save Our Bus Station, said: “It's absolute rubbish that we should give up. We have more than 11,000 people supporting us so public opinion is on our side.

“An eight week consultation should mean exactly that - a consultation.”

Labour group leader Tim Young said: “It's not all over - we will take this issue to the streets and make it an election issue.

“John Jowers seems to be saying this consultation process is a fait accompli.”

Details of the consultation on the £250million redevelopment of the St Botolph's Quarter, which also includes plans for a new £16.5million art gallery, were announced yesterday.

Running from March 21 until May 15, documents can be found on the council's website and at Angel Court, Colchester High Street.

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