By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
PLANS for the £5.9 million relocation of Gosport bus station together with the routing of incoming buses across the High Street have been confirmed by Hampshire County Council following the public consultation.
The council’s Executive Lead Member for Economy, Transport and Environment Councillor Rob Humby has given the go-ahead to the scheme which will involve:
- construction of a new bus station in the area to the west of the Falkland Gardens that currently has the taxi rank and the pick-up/drop-off car park
- moving the taxis to the area of the current Mumby Road bus station car park
- relocating the drop off and collection parking to the southern side of The Esplanade
- upgrading the Mumby Road pedestrian crossing
- re-routing incoming buses – they currently approach the bus station along South Street – so they turn left by the former police station into South Cross Street, and cross the pedestrianised High Street into North Cross Street
- the buses turning right at the top of North Cross Street into Mumby Road and proceeding to the proposed bus station, though this was not shown in the consultation information pack.
Feedback from public consultation
The public consultation held between July 8 and September 2, received 430 responses.
The county council officer’s report stated: “The key question around the proposed relocation of various elements within the existing interchange in order to facilitate the provision of a new bus station was supported with 49% in favour; 33% against the proposals and the remaining 18% undecided or unsure about the scheme.”
This was deemed, “sufficient public support to enable [the project] to be progressed further”.
An appendix to the report contained the ‘Key Findings’ of the public feedback and these included: 77 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied with the toilets at the bus station; 43 per cent agreed with a new bus stop on North Cross Street; 21 per cent were concerned about allowing buses on the High Street; and 22 percent felt the relocated pick-up/drop-off point would be too far from the ferry terminal.
Favoured bus shelter
The survey provided four designs of bus shelters and asked respondents to indicate which one they would like to see in the new bus station.
Option 4 – as shown at the top of this report – was the first choice of 66 per cent of respondents, and 11 percent made it their second choice.
Next stages – planning permission and land required
Hampshire County Council will be submitting a planning application to itself because, according to the officer’s report, “the provision of a bus station is not considered to be highway works that can be undertaken within permitted development rights … [and] The majority of the land upon which the proposed new bus station will sit is currently adopted public highway”.
One of the parcels of land required is to enable buses to safely enter and manoeuvre in the new bus station area.
In March, the borough council’s Economic Development Board agreed to buy 100 sq m of land – at the corner of Mumby Road and the current taxi rank and short-stay car park – from Premier Marinas Limited, paying £89,000 and giving the company 7,000 square metres of land that is currently leased from the local authority.
Another piece of land required for the scheme is on the southern side of The Esplanade. This will be for the relocated short stay car park but is currently ‘Public Open Space’ in the Local Plan, and so the borough council will have to remove this designation.
Funding the £5.9 project
Hampshire County Council secured £19.6 million from the central government’s Transforming Cities Fund for investment, £5.2 million of which will be used for what is termed the Gosport Interchange Improvements.
The other £700,000 will come from Gosport Borough Council.
There is some urgency about getting work on the scheme underway because one of the conditions of the Transforming Cities Fund is that the money allocated must be spent by the end of March 2023.
Image (top): the design of bus shelter favoured by 66 per cent of those who responded to the survey