Disabled and infirm disadvantaged by Gosport Interchange Improvements

Plans will mean longer distance from car park and taxi rank to the ferry as Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas explains

 SOCIAL media comments indicate not everybody is in favour of Hampshire County Council’s proposals for moving Gosport bus station and the consequences of it for using what is termed the ‘Gosport Interchange’.

Last weekend’s report https://www.thegosportglobe.co.uk/consultation-on-5-9m-scheme-to-move-gosport-bus-station/) in The Globe about the plans, which are currently out for public consultation, generated a range of views.

For some it was, “great news” and an, “excellent idea” but others viewed the scheme as a, “waste of money” which could be, “best spent doing up the high street”.

One person asked: “where will the taxi rank be sited and the loss of the handy drop [-off] for the ferry is a big miss”.

 

‘I don’t want Hampshire County Council to make the same mistake

as Portsmouth City Council made.’

 

The Globe’s report listed as – using the terminology in the consultation information – ‘enhancements’ the proposed relocating of the taxi rank to the area of the current Mumby Road bus station car park, and the drop-off/collection and short stay car parking to the southern side of The Esplanade.

In this case, ‘enhancement’ is in the eye of the beholder: the current car park next to the taxi rank has nine parking spaces and two collection/drop off bays, none of which are reserved for disabled parking, whereas the consultation diagrams indicate the proposed parking on The Esplanade would comprise 12 spaces, 2 of which are for disabled parking.

However, the new locations for both would be further away from the Gosport Ferry terminal – in the case of the collection/drop-off car park, roughly twice the distance of what it is now.

 

‘we must do all we can to make sure older people

are taken into account.’

 

Even for the able-bodied, the walk between the ferry and The Esplanade via the Millennium Promenade on a wet November day with the wind blowing from the East would not be pleasant.

But for the disabled and the infirm it can be viewed as a significant disadvantage.

Suzanne Pepper is a committee member of the Gosport Older Persons Forum but, speaking in a personal capacity, she told The Globe: “We need the drop-off and collection to be as close as possible to the ferry.”

Referring to the distance between the collection/drop-off area and the ferry on the other side of the harbour at The Hard interchange, she said: “I don’t want Hampshire County Council to make the same mistake as Portsmouth City Council made.”

According to anecdotal stories, people who find walking difficult prefer to go to Portsmouth & Southsea railway station rather than the one at The Hard because they can be dropped off or collected without having a long walk or having to be pushed in a wheelchair over the distance at The Hard.

Gosport Borough Council’s Older Persons Champion Councillor, John Beavis – who is also a committee member of the Gosport Older Persons Forum – said that when planning the new Gosport Interchange, “we must do all we can to make sure older people are taken into account.”

As for the relocation of the drop-off/collection car park to The Esplanade, he felt: “It’s a question of getting it right. The bus station site has great potential for development. It needs to be considered carefully but I cannot see any alternative.”

The borough council’s Town ward councillor June Cully suggested that, “where they propose to put the taxi rank [where Mumby Road bus station car park is now], a disabled parking space or bay could be included.”

 

‘This is the time to raise the issue –

for local people to look and raise their concerns.’

 

Suzanne Pepper went further, advocating the collection/drop-off area should be located, “where the taxis are going”.

June Cully’s fellow Town ward borough councillor, Lesley Meenaghan, welcomed the proposals as: “Great news – we’re going to have an updated interchange” and she added the cycle park near the ferry office is a, “cycle theft hotspot [and] we can design out that crime.”

Asked about the relocation of the collection/drop-off area, her response was: “It is an important point. This is the time to raise the issue – for local people to look and raise their concerns.”

And people have until just before midnight at the end of Thursday September 2, to make their concerns known to Hampshire County Council.

Further information about the Gosport Interchange Improvements and the feedback survey form are available:

Anyone who requires the response form in another format can phone 0300 555 1388, or email major.schemes@hants.gov.uk.

 

Image (above): scheme overview plan – proposed taxi rank and short stay parking. Reproduced with permission from Hampshire County Council.