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Sudbury town council says no to bus station proposal

Plans for Sudbury's new bus station in Girling Street car park. ANL-160928-171750001
Plans for Sudbury's new bus station in Girling Street car park. ANL-160928-171750001

An application to turn Girling Street car park in Sudbury into the town’s new bus station was recommended for refusal by councillors citing safety issues, traffic congestion and a lack of pick-up points.

The decision for the plans to be recommended for refusal by Sudbury Town Council’s planning committee on Monday night was met with cheers by members of the public - many of them supporters of Save Our Bus Station (SOBS) or Girling Street residents.

Sudbury Bus Station'Sudbury'Picture Mark Westley ANL-160908-180429009
Sudbury Bus Station'Sudbury'Picture Mark Westley ANL-160908-180429009

The rejection of the plans was proposed by John Sayers, who said he had serious concerns over the safety of the site due to the loss of drop off and pick up points, with passengers having to walk to other areas to be picked up.

He was also unhappy with the pressure a new signalling system for buses to exit the station could have on traffic.

His proposal to recommend refusal was voted for by Simon Clarke, Luke Cresswell and Joanne Connah, with Jan Osborne, Nigel Bennett and Sue Ayres voting against.

The plans will now go on to Suffolk County Council’s planning committee where a decision will be taken.

SUDBURY Petition against bus station move to Girling Street. ANL-160823-224747009
SUDBURY Petition against bus station move to Girling Street. ANL-160823-224747009

Sudbury committee chair Jan Osborne reminded members that whatever decision they took, their recommendation would only be considered by county councillors if based on approved planning policies.

Colin Whiles, chairman on SOBS, said: “This proposal is not only unnecessary because there is nothing viable planned for the Hamilton Road Quarter, it is also unworkable.

“It is designed solely for 12m buses, the bare minimum. Single deckers can be 12.8m, coaches are often over 13m and 14.1m. This bus station will not accommodate any of them.”

Mr Whyles said the application also showed buses dangerously encroaching into the left hand lane in Girling Street as they enter.

He suggested there would be ‘chaos’ caused by schoolchildren being picked up and dropped off in North Street, alongside criticism of the proximity from the train station and the loss of overnight parking for Girling Street residents.

“However you try to modify this plan, it will still be in the wrong place,” he said.

Mr Bennett said that the length of the buses was something that required clarification, but said pollution, traffic and parking surveys showed that these were areas the town could cope with.

He said that he had been in favour of the bus station remaining in Hamilton Road but knew this was not option due to plans to regenerate the site for a leisure offer.

This was met with groans by protestors, many of whom argue the station should remain where it is and question the need for more restaurants or a cinema in the town.

He said if not Hamilton Road then the other proposed sites would still affect parking.

Mrs Osborne said: “To be perfectly frank, in the information I’ve got there’s no sound planning reason I can give that it should not go into Girling Street.

She added: “If you don’t have sound reasons they won’t have any clout at all [at county council planning].”

A decision is expected to be taken by the county council on January 18 at Endeavour House, Ipswich.

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