05 June 2006

Unwanted Bus Station

This is Plymouth:11:50 - 05 June 2006
The £25million plan to redevelop Bretonside bus station with a hotel, apartments, shops and a car park is on the brink of collapse.The city council has given an ultimatum to the Henry Boot, the developer in line to transform Bretonside, to use the site or lose it. And the council has said if Henry Boot, which was awarded the remit to redesign Bretonside in 2002, does nothing by August, they will pull the plug.Henry Boot Developments has £25million plans for a seven-storey 120-bedroom hotel, retail units, 120 residential units, a 150-space car park, and a pedestrianised piazza with a footbridge across Bretonside to How Street. Henry Boot's brief had originally envisaged that a bus and coach station would remain on the site, but this was not in line with the far-reaching vision for Plymouth by architect David Mackay.Mr Mackay instead suggested creating a combined bus and rail terminus on the site of the city's railway station.A report to a council scrutiny panel reads: "Consequently a number of discussions with Henry Boot Developments centred around exploring these further options.
Last August, the Evening Herald revealed how Henry Boot had slammed the council for causing "embarrassing" delays on the project. Mr Painter told the Herald then that the firm was losing out on deals with potential investors because of the delays, with talks about where the city's new coach station should go proving "the main stumbling block"

The site at Bretonside badly needs to be sorted out. It is a very unwelcoming place and really bady run down. It is a real shame that the City has so little pride that it has let the bus station become such a mess. Of course the real issue is that they dont want a bus station there. You sometimes get the feeling that the council would rather not have a bus station at all.
The Mckay plan for the City suggests a a bus station at the Railway station. In some ways this would make sense having a proper transport interchange although this is not a convenient location for the City Centre. There does not seem to be a lot of spare space available there either. I hoep that the City gets something sorted for this space, and that the bus travelling public get a fair deal out of it. Sadly I fear they will fairly low down the list of priorities.

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