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Friends of Lymington Bus Station Update

Urgent appeal from Peter Simpson on behalf of the Friends of Lymington Bus Station 

 

Peter says:  "It is not yet too late to save the bus station! " 

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Letters of objection must be posted online by Tuesday 9 August

 

We are publishing Peter's views and his letter of objection as a matter of local interest, and to make it as easy as possible for those who wish to object, to do so. 

 

Background to Objection - by Peter Simpson

 


"GoAhead, the current bus operator, wishes to develop the site of Lymington Bus Station and keep the proceeds. Their excuse is they cannot afford to operate it due to reduced subsidies. Yet they can still pay £10.2 million to shareholders.

A future bus operator may need the bus station to enable proper services to be provided. It has been proven the existing arrangements do not work and the community needs the bus station open. If it is developed it has gone forever.

The local L&PTC plan requires it as a bus station as one alternative. The proposed development is also not required due to saturation of retirement homes, highway problems etc.

I also believe there are people in the town who would buy the site to keep it available as a bus station in anticipation of a responsible operator. With the forthcoming Bus Services Act more bus services should be installed and the need for the bus station will be undisputed.

This is blatant asset stripping of a facility required by the local community. Please object to the development of our Bus Station, do not allow it to be lost through apathy.

The last day for Standard Consultation appears to have been extended to Tuesday 9th August 2016 according to Important Dates on Planning Application pages.

This appears to be the LAST chance to object to development of the Bus Station. Only 29 comments are recorded on the online comments page with just one in support. The procedure to object is simple. Visit www.nfdc.gov.uk home page, select How Do I Comment on Planning Application on left toolbar, agree to T&C's in middle of page, enter case 16/10754 at bottom then follow 'Make a Comment' instructions. IT IS SIMPLE AND QUICK!"

 

 

Link to all comments and papers on NFDC Planning Site  

Direct link to comment input page

 

Peter Simpson's letter of objection is printed below

 

 

"The Friends recently submitted an Application to List the Bus Station as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011 Section 88 supported by 111 members as mentioned above. Additional Friends joined after the application was submitted.
The ACV Application was refused by the delegated officer as the term ‘Social Wellbeing’ is not defined under the Act and there was uncertainty as to when and if the bus station could be returned to use.
Local Authorities must use their discretion when applying ACV listing decisions. Lydney Bus Station in Gloucestershire is listed as an ACV for example.
Although formal listing on the Statutory ACV Register has been refused the Friends still consider their grounds for objecting to the Planning Application are valid.
Extracts from Appendix A and Appendix B of the ACV submission follow with added clarification.
The Lymington Bus Station has until recently been the hub of public bus services serving the town of Lymington. It provided in a single location, covered and sheltered waiting facilities, toilet facilities and all information required to enable bus users to access their correct services. The Friends refute the assertion by the solicitors to GoAhead that there are Bus Shelters and Toilet Facilities in Lymington High Street or that adequate information is provided at the bus stops.
The Lymington Bus Station removed the need for buses to take up scarce parking space within the High Street and Gosport Street and reduced the possibility of passengers interfering in the privacy of private residences by looking through windows by keeping stationary buses off the main thoroughfare.
The Bus Station reduced the disruption to trading premises by preventing shop fronts being obscured and the gathering of bus users on narrow pavements. It is centrally placed, close to the shops and other businesses with flat, paved surfaces. Although the bus stop outside Lymington Post Office has a flat pavement, there is no shelter or convenient toilet facilities.
It has been shown that no other suitable terminus location is available of adequate size in Lymington for buses to operate without disruption to other users of the town of Lymington or to provide the expected services or convenience to a reasonable standard. Placing of bus stops in Gosport Street as an alternative, although well intended, has caused difficulty to less able-bodied users of buses who are unable to climb up the steep hill in the High Street. The frequent movement of buses round the sharp bend from Gosport Street to the High Street is dangerous.
The Friends refute the further assertions by the solicitors to GoAhead that the closure of the bus station has increased the vibrancy of the High Street and increased trade and that the current arrangements are better for the bus users. The closure has at the very least inconvenienced the elderly, disabled and infirm in a time when their needs are considered paramount.
The assertion that no other bus company has shown an interest in buying the bus station premises is considered unsurprising when there seems to have been a concerted effort to develop the site at great speed with encouragement from the NFDC Planning Department and GoAhead have the opportunity to make a huge profit on the site by residential development. The startling blanking out of any suggestion of non-development appears to be in total disregard of public opinion or concern.
The Bus Services Bill, expected to be made law in early 2017, is expected to replace the current practice of bus companies choosing services they wish to operate purely for profit motives. A package of bus services required by the bus users would take precedence and reduction in subsidies should no longer be acceptable as a reason for operators to curtail services. A franchise package would be expected to contract operators to include all required routes.

The Bus Services Act is not expected to be mandatory upon Local Authorities but it is hoped that NFDC will accept the responsibility and opportunities to be made available to give the optimum service to their constituents. The mainly rural profile of the constituency is crying out for support as so many residents are now house bound, lonely and unable to reach vital appointments by public transport.

The intention to increase bus services under the forthcoming legislation should lead to a need to relocate services within the Lymington Bus Station to enable all information to be in one place and a safe, enclosed central area with full facilities to be made available again.

The concern by some residents about the use of old bus stock with the associated diesel fumes is also being discussed during the passage of the Bus Services Bill. Eco-friendly buses of appropriate size, accessibility and efficiency are clearly on the horizon.

It is the opinion of the Friends of Lymington Bus Station that the bus station should be left undeveloped in any manner until the full impact of the Bus Services Act have been established and how the Bus Station may fit into these future arrangements."

 

Link to all comments and papers on NFDC Planning Site  

Direct link to comment input page


 

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