Concerns raised over bus station plans
A PROPOSED temporary bus station will cause “widespread disruption and traffic chaos”, opponents have claimed.Colchester Borough Council wants to build a visual arts facility (VAF) on the site of the current bus station, between East Hill and Queen Street.
By Juliette Maxam
A PROPOSED temporary bus station will cause “widespread disruption and traffic chaos”, opponents have claimed.
Colchester Borough Council wants to build a visual arts facility (VAF) on the site of the current bus station, between East Hill and Queen Street.
Ultimately a brand new bus station is due to be built as part of the Vineyard Gate regeneration of the St Botolph's area of the town centre.
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But for three years the bus station would be moved to a temporary location. Colchester Borough Council cabinet member for planning and transportation Elizabeth Blundell has approved a site off Queen Street.
Buses would enter and exit the bus station via Queen Street. At the moment they enter through East Hill and leave in Queen Street.
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Now Mrs Blundell's decision has been called in for scrutiny by a group of opponents, including Labour leader Tim Young.
“We don't think the plans have been communicated well enough to the public,” said Mr Young.
“I was unaware until I saw the decision of the amount of disruption and chaos the temporary bus station will cause, with Queen Street likely to be congested more than now.”
Mr Young's official reason for calling in the decision is: “The portfolio holder has not consulted widely enough or communicated the potential impact of this decision well enough.
“The decision is premature and likely to lead to widespread disruption and traffic chaos, as well as having an adverse effect on bus users.”
Mr Young said he also believed there were plans to stop all traffic from entering East Hill from High Street, so that everything would be funnelled down Queen Street.
Timothy Oxton, of Save Our Bus Station, which gathered 10,000 names on a petition in support of the current bus station, is also opposed to the temporary bus station plans and he criticised the council's consultation process.
“The council's consultation is a matter of going through the motions. They're not interested in any public response which doesn't happen to agree with what they want to do.
“That's why we are continuing to oppose the closure of the bus station and by implication we oppose the temporary bus station.”
Mrs Blundell said to the best of her knowledge there were no plans to stop traffic going down East Hill from High Street.
She hit back at claims the temporary bus station location would cause traffic chaos, saying: “We have worked with Essex County Council, we've done modelling and tests with buses.
“If Essex County Council are happy, I'm happy. They're very strict on these matters.
“I would say this is a very early stage. This is a drawing on paper. We'll be looking at a detailed aspect.”
And she said she honestly believed the council had carried out consultation properly.
She added: “We have consulted bus and coach operators, Colchester Bus Users Support Group, Save Our Bus Station, taxi representatives, Shopmobility, Essex and Colchester council staff.
“We have had discussions ongoing with the VAF developer. I feel we have done a thorough consultation.”
Mrs Blundell's decision is due to be reviewed at a meeting of the Colchester Borough Council strategic overview and scrutiny panel tomorrow .