Call for council leader to quit

By Ted JeoryBUS station campaigners called last night on a council leader to resign for pushing through plans to regenerate Britain's oldest recorded town.

By Ted Jeory

BUS station campaigners called last night on a council leader to resign for pushing through plans to regenerate Britain's oldest recorded town.

Pensioner rights activist Tony Constable told a meeting of Colchester's Save Our Bus Station campaign that council leaders had been “blind” to the “overwhelming” public opinion he claimed was against a large part of the St Botolph's Masterplan.

Last night's meeting heard a dozen speakers debate the controversial proposal to move Colchester's Queen Street bus station to make way for a £16.5million art gallery.

The issue has provoked outrage with many people angry that the bus station could be forced further from the town centre to be replaced by what they claimed might be a “white elephant”.

But others said a proposed new bus station in the town's Osborne Street would be far more advanced and state-of-the-art.

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Mr Constable said: “Our council has not taken public opinion along with them on these proposals - in fact quite the reverse has happened, for they have chosen to ignore overwhelming public desire for the existing bus station site to be upheld.”

Referring to the actions of council leader John Jowers and his cabinet team, Mr Constable added: “Total blindness to public opinion is the only fitting description and a seeming deafness.”

Sixteen people voted in favour of a motion calling for the councillors to resign with one against and 12 abstentions.

Robert Davidson, the council's portfolio holder in charge of the regeneration plans, said: “I appreciate the passion and concern about this issue, but we have been extremely open. We did not have to put this to a full council debate, but we have chosen to.”

A full meeting of Colchester Borough Council will debate the St Botolph's Masterplan on Thursday.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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