Halesworth: Spat over terminal could throw whole project into doubt - claim
- Credit: Archant
A PROPOSAL to regenerate a Suffolk town’s public transport system has been thrown into doubt by a disagreement between local leaders.
Halesworth Town Council failed to reach unanimity on plans for a new bus terminal despite the blessing of both county and district authorities.
The split has angered the council chairman and some residents who believe further delays could threaten the project’s development.
Members have long considered moving the existing bus stop in Saxons Way but a dispute has flared up over Suffolk County Council’s (SCC) proposals for a terminal at the Angel Link car park.
Dissenting councillors claim that only the movement of the bus stop received their approval last November. Since then, SCC’s highways team, and car park owners Waveney District Council, have been working on terms and conditions.
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Vice-chairman Ezra Leverett said the current design, which includes space for buses entering and turning in the Angel Link car park, never underwent public consultation. He said support was instead given to moving the Saxons Way shelter to a lay-by beside the Angel Link road – as per the Halesworth Town Plan – and forced an amendment to the council’s motion for approval.
Council chairman James Wagner said the difference of opinion had “driven a wedge” between the council and that the outcome of impending county elections could jeopardise funding priorities. He added: “Everyone seemed happy with the proposals and a meeting was called to discuss support for a bus terminal.
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“We were yet to have a clear yes or no, but when it came to voting on redevelopment, I made clear my absolute 100% support.
“The proposal was seconded, but an amendment was made that the design should meet the terms of the town plan.
“I am disgusted by the decision. I think the bus terminal is a massive addition to the town and that our county councillor deserves credit for securing funding. The pedantic attitude of certain councillors reflects badly on the town council.
“To build a relationship with the town, we need all councillors singing from the same hymn sheet. In light of what has happened, the vote will need to be taken again.”
If push came to shove, Suffolk County Council could go ahead with the project without full consent from town councillors, and many local traders are pressing the council to do so.