|Redeveloping the bus station
||[Nov. 3rd, 2016|10:28 pm]
The County Council is consulting about a grand scheme to move the bus station: this plan has been around for some time, and I thought I posted about it last time it surfaced, but can't find the post. The idea is that if they move the bus station, but not very far, then they can persuade businesses, prefereably shops, to move into the space created, and so regenerate the North Road. The council is apparently confident this will happen, but can't produce any evidence because it is commercially confidential. I have just filled in their online questionnaire about 'North Road Regeneration: Bus Station' and since I want a record of both questions and answers, I'm posting them here:
Page 1 is the questionnaire itself:
- 1. What do you like about the proposals?
- I welcome the proposal to create a pedestrian area, however minimal, in the North Road.
The question "What do you dislike about the proposals?" appears to have been omitted.
Briefly, if the bus station is to be moved, and the case for this has not been made, I would like to see some attempt to harmonise bus, train and taxi stations. The present proposals appear to be a lot of expense and disruption for very little change.
The design itself, while scaled back from the Starship Enterprise version previously offered, persists in proposing a thirties style art deco rotunda, with abundant glass panelling, completely alien to the squared off Victorian stonework of its surroundings.
- 2. What would you like to be included in the proposals?
- I would like to see some indication of how the proposals would help to regenerate the North Road. We are asked to believe that by creating a building site where the bus station now stands, businesses will magically appear not only in the new space but also in the existing historic North Road. If this is the case, why is retail space being destroyed in Milburngate and replaced with student accommodation?
If there is money available to regenerate the North Road, rather than spending it on this speculative gesture, why not buy the old Miners' Hall and make it into a destination (art gallery to replace the DLI, Tourist Office handy for people arriving in Durham, council offices displaced when County Hall is redeveloped, heritage centre...)?
Put some money into enforcing the alleged traffic restrictions in the North Road and maintaining roadway and pavement, to make it a pleasanter place to linger and shop.
And if there's money over, then a facelift for the bus station, and neighbouring 60s buildings, would be welcome.
The North Road is not a taxi rank.
- 3. Do you travel by bus into or out of Durham City?
- Yes / no - and yes, I do, sometimes.
- 4. Do you currently use the North Road Bus Station?
- Yes / no - and yes, I do, sometimes to catch the bus, more often as a short-cut home from town.
There's an "If not, why not?" question, but that doesn't apply.
Page 2, questions 5 - 11 are optional. They ask:
- my postcode
- my gender
- my age
- my sexual orientation
- whether I consider myself disabled
- my religion
- my ethnicity
As consultations go, this is perfunctory, even by DCC's standards. I suppose I should be grateful, because it makes it possible to answer in an evening.
ETA l'esprit de la piscine: It occurred to me this morning (and therefore too late to include in my response) that an even bigger unasked question is "Do you want us to do this?" Bear that in mind when the Council claim that the consultation demonstrated support for the scheme.