Bus station planned branded 'questionable'

PLANS to relocate Thetford's bus station have been branded 'questionable' and 'inadequate' by a town heritage official.

PLANS to relocate Thetford's bus station have been branded “questionable” and “inadequate” by a town heritage official.

Chairman of the Thetford Society's environmental committee, Stuart Wilson criticised plans to move the site from Bridge Street to Minstergate as part of proposals by the Moving Thetford Forward Board to regenerate the town.

He questioned plans for an old warehouse building on the new site which he said would be “completely divorced from the functions of the bus station”, the siting of public toilets, drop off and pick up points which he stressed would be unsafe for pedestrians, and a lack of parking bays and taxi ranks.

In a letter addressed to Tim Edmunds, highways network manager at Norfolk County Council, he said: “I believe that the proposed scheme is neither safe nor effective as a transport system.

“With the exception of one MTF Board member, I know of no other Thetford residents who support moving the bus station to this cramped site.

“Council tax payers' money could be saved by keeping the bus station at its present site - we know it works there. For a fraction of the cost of the move to St Nicholas St, the Anchor site could be dramatically improved. In the present economic climate wasting tax payers' money unnecessarily is scandalous.”

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His primary concerns, he said, came from the fact many parents already use the current bus station to drop their children off which had not been taken into account, and that Minstergate would not be suitable for larger coaches.

He was also concerned that the pubic toilets would prove an eyesore for people entering the town and that a flat roof on the warehouse building would be a drain on maintenance budgets.

Mr Wilson's comments came after a meeting of the steering committee, on which he was invited to sit. He resigned after one meeting however on the grounds that he did not want to be seen to support the project.

Mr Edmunds said: “The provision of a new bus interchange in Thetford is one of a number of projects being taken forward by the Moving Thetford Forward partnership that seeks to help the town grow and turn around the decline that has occurred.

“Stuart Wilson, in his role with the Thetford Society, was invited to be part of the steering group that oversees the bus interchange project, which includes the restoration and bringing back into use of a currently derelict listed warehouse.

“While the bus interchange project team are responding to Mr Wilson about the points that he has raised, it is disappointing that he has decided to withdraw from the steering group, who directly shape the development of the design of the new facility planned for the town.”