By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
THERE are just a few days left for people to comment on the proposals to move Gosport bus station as the consultation period comes to an end at midnight on Thursday, September 2.
The proposals – which are termed ‘enhancements’ by Hampshire County Council – in outline are:
- constructing a new bus station in the area to the west of the Falkland Gardens which currently has the taxi rank, and a short stay car park with bays for drop off and collection;
- the taxis would be moved to the area of the current Mumby Road bus station car park;
- the drop off and collection parking would be on the southern side of The Esplanade – the plan indicates 12 parking spaces, two of which are for disabled drivers;
- incoming buses which currently approach the bus station along South Street, would be re-routed to turn left by the former police station into South Cross Street, go cross the pedestrianised High Street into North Cross Street where there would be a bus stop;
- it must then be the case that the buses would turn right at the top of North Cross Street into Mumby Road but this is not shown in the diagrams, and no statement is made, in the information pack available on the consultation website.
Further details of the proposals and the feedback survey form are available at: www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/tcfgosportinterchangeimprovements, and earlier in the consultation period The Globe reported the comments of various interested parties – see www.thegosportglobe.co.uk/consultation-on-5-9m-scheme-to-move-gosport-bus-station/ and www.thegosportglobe.co.uk/disabled-and-infirm-disadvantaged-by-gosport-interchange-improvements/
‘Designed to complement the characteristics of Falkland Gardens and the surrounding area’
An important part of the proposals is the proposed layout of the new bus station.
The county council’s information pack states that the relocation of the bus station will provide, “a more efficient operational layout and modern shelter incorporating seating, lighting and real-time passenger information” – this is deemed so important that it is stated twice in slide 6.
And the shelter, “will be designed to complement the characteristics of Falkland Gardens and the surrounding area whilst maintaining views to Falklands Gardens and across the Waterfront and Harbour areas.”
Eight images of possible designs for the shelter are included in the information pack, four of which are pictured above.
‘A land swap was not as straight forward as a simple swap of land’
To enable the bus station scheme to go ahead, Gosport Borough Council has paid £89,000 and given the freehold of 7,000 square metres of land currently leased to Premier Marinas in return for 100 square metres of land at the corner of Mumby Road and the current taxi rank and short-stay car park.
These ‘simultaneous transactions’ were approved by council’s Economic Development Board in March with the officer’s report to the meeting stating: “The land [to be purchased] will facilitate safe access, manoeuvring and egress for the buses whilst maintaining safe pedestrian and cycle links from Mumby Road.
“The land purchased will also add value by visually opening up the approach to the new facilities and the Falkland Gardens beyond, contributing to an enhanced overall public realm, noting also that the proposed site for the new facilities reflects the original historic location, helping to reinforce the Gosport Story.”
Although the officer’s report describes the simultaneous transactions as a “land swap”, the minutes of the meeting record: “Members were advised that a land swap was not as straight forward as a simple swap of land as the land being given to the marina was currently leased.”
Work on project expected to begin in summer of 2022
The consultation ends in a few days but there will be at least one more opportunity for people to comment on the Gosport Interchange as the detailed plans will need planning approval and that will include a further consultation period.
The timescale for the project is for the planning application for the bus station element to be submitted in the autumn and, if approved, for work to commence in the summer of 2022.
Altogether, £5.2 million of the £5.9 million project – Gosport Borough Council is contributing £700,000 – is coming from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund and one of the conditions is that the money must be spent by June 2023 – hence the ‘tight’ schedule for getting the project completed.
Image (above): four possible designs for the proposed Gosport bus station shelter. Reproduced with permission from Hampshire County Council