'It's an eyesore': Upset over bus stop outside wedding venue

David Harris (pictured) is upset about the relocation of a bus stop to the side of the gates to Hengrave Hall, which he owns

David Harris (pictured) is upset about the relocation of a bus stop to the side of the gates to Hengrave Hall, which he owns - Credit: Hengrave Hall/David Harris/Archant

Moving a bus stop to right by the entrance of a grade I-listed wedding venue has created an "eyesore," according to disgruntled neighbours.

The dispute is over the new location of a bus stop in Hengrave, near Bury St Edmunds, to the side of the entrance of popular venue Hengrave Hall.

Neighbour Janet Taylor said residents were "up in arms" over it and had "huge concerns" including over highway safety and the appearance of the stop in front of the listed building.

The bus stop in Hengrave that has caused the upset

The bus stop in Hengrave that has caused the upset - Credit: David Harris

She said: "We do not want an entrance to a grade I-listed building used for weddings looking like an eyesore, which it does now."

However, parish council chairman, Dave Bambury, said these opinions were not shared by all and not supported by any data, adding the bus stop was in a similar position but enabled level access for disabled users.

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said Flempton cum Hengrave Parish Council approached them about moving the stop as the previous location had issues with flooding and did not meet current accessibility standards, amongst other issues.

Hengrave Hall, a popular wedding venue, is grade I listed

Hengrave Hall, a popular wedding venue, is grade I listed - Credit: Hengrave Hall

Owner of Hengrave Hall, David Harris, believes listed building consent was needed as the entrance gates, piers and railings at the hall, in A1101 Bury Road, have a grade II designation.

But the county council spokesperson said they were not aware of any guidelines that would prevent them putting a stop there, or indeed a full footway, adding the old stop was also adjacent to the wall.

Mr Harris, who also owns All Saints Hotel, said he was "not particularly happy about it," adding it looked "horrendous".

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"I'm not particularly pleased that we had no consultation," he said. "It's more than 100 years old and it's been defaced."

David Harris, of M&D Developments

David Harris, of M&D Developments - Credit: Archant

Mr Bambury said: "The stop was subject to flooding, near misses with accidents involving children returning from school and it did not comply with the equality and transports acts.

"The whole process has passed democratically through the parish council and access to this process has been open to all.

"In fact, what has happened is the bus stop has been moved back to it's original position where it was for decades until it was moved without notice to an unsuitable position along the Hengrave Hall wall where nobody with a wheelchair, mobility scooter or pushchair could use it."

The entrance to Hengrave Hall, taken in 2015

The entrance to Hengrave Hall, taken in 2015 - Credit: Archant

Mr Harris is concerned the wall has been damaged by the work to install the bus stop.

The Suffolk County Council spokesperson added: "Although the new site is now on a slight bend the approach to it is now longer for traffic so it is even safer than before. Every bus stop has to be safe for users and meet strict guidelines and no concerns were raised here.

“The actual boarding point is away from the gates, so there should be little to no overhang of the access.

"Furthermore, under current timetables there are 21 services per day that could stop here but obviously they will only do so if someone is wanting to board or alight.  

"On a typical day that means perhaps five to 10 minutes of a stopped bus between 8am and 6.30pm, so the chances of anyone encountering a bus when trying to use that gate are very slim."