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Call for delay to bus station closure
A SALISBURY councillor is calling for a delay in the closure of the city’s bus station until a “satisfactory alternative” is found.
Wilts & Dorset bus company announced last week that the bus station in Endless Street will close in January following the acceptance of an offer for the site.
As a result of the closure Wiltshire Council is looking to put in additional bus stops in the city as well as “lay-over” bays where buses can park for 20 minutes, but many residents and business owners have been left fuming at the plans.
Cllr Michael Pope, who represents the St Edmund and Milford ward on Salisbury City Council, said: “The whole thing is ridiculous.
“Wilts & Dorset walks away with approximately £1m and the taxpayer is left to pick up the cost of approximately £100,000 to provide four wholly inadequate bus stops, which will cause major problems to those directly affected, bus users and local residents.”
The proposed sites for bus stops include Castle Street, Endless Street, Chipper Lane, Brown Street and Milford Street, while those for layovers include two for Chipper Lane and one in Brown Street.
Cllr Pope said: “The one proposed in Milford Street will be detrimental to local businesses and the one right outside the British Legion premises in Endless Street will cause major problems for their elderly, frail and disabled members with regards to access, with increased pavement congestion.”
Wiltshire Council held a consultation, which came to an end on Tuesday, but Cllr Pope said it was “too short and too limited”.
“Opposition is growing daily as councillors and the public realise the impact of these measures,” he said.
A number of other Salisbury city councillors share Cllr Pope’s views and are backing his calls to delay the closure, including councillors James Robertson and Mark Timbrell.
Cllr Pope is also calling for a transport interchange for the city to be included in plans to redevelop The Maltings. He will be speaking about the issue at a meeting of Salisbury Vision at the Methodist Hall, St Edmund’s Church Street, from 6pm this evening.
Ed Wills, operations director for Wilts & Dorset. said that its intention to sell the bus station was announced in November 2012 and consultation was carried out with appropriate authorities.
“As less than 15 per cent of bus users travelling around Salisbury use the bus station to board or alight our services we do not understand why the plan is now being contested when it’s too late,” he said.
“We have never received an offer to purchase the bus station from any authority to preserve its use and we strongly believe that the site will better serve Salisbury if it provides a commercially viable facility.”
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