Developer eyes up bus station

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SPALDING bus station could be sold off to make way for a major new development.

South Holland District Council has confirmed that it has been approached by a developer who is potentially interested in using the bus station land.

It is not clear what the developer has in mind, although rumours persist that the area could be redeveloped to make way for a large shopping centre.

But the council, which owns the land, has said nothing will go ahead unless the developer, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, provides a new and improved bus station for the town.

Bruce Wakeling, economic development manager for the council, said: “As part of our continued efforts to improve facilities for the public we regularly discuss opportunities for development with investors and this land has been the subject of several discussions in the past, none of which has progressed.

“At this stage there is absolutely no certainty that any development will take place and I stress that agreements have not been reached.

“We will need to be certain that any development which may replace existing facilities will be an improvement.

“We have advised the developer they must consult with the bus companies and the county council.”

The news has been welcomed by bus companies, who have been invited to a meeting on Tuesday with the developers’ transport consultants to hear their proposals and give their point of view on what is required for a new bus station.

Mr Wakeling has confirmed he will also attend to ensure the needs of public transport users are represented.

Ben Colson, boss of Norfolk Green bus company, said: “The bus station is clearly not well placed at the moment. In fact it couldn’t be more inconvenient for people going to the town centre or train station.

“The current bus station almost epitomises South Holland’s view that buses are something the people of Spalding don’t want to know about.

“I welcome the chance to look at relocating the bus station as long as the options are sensible because the current site definitely is not ideal.

“In every aspect it’s a poor facility for people because it’s away from the town centre. It is like it has just been plonked on a spare bit of land.”

Malcolm Wheatley, operations manager for Brylaine Travel, added: “There are already quite a few big retailers in Holland Market and reading between the lines of the invitation it seems they are looking to move the bus station to somewhere else with a view to some sort of development.

“It seems like just another move to move the town centre out of the town centre, but the bus station is poorly managed and poorly maintained.”

He added that the current bus station is full of potholes, there is no timetable service for passengers and the toilets are closed at 4.30pm.