Further to the saga of Hexham Bus Station and Northumberland County Council’s preferred option of relocation to Loosing Hill, a further opportunity to examine the Council’s proposal will take this week at the Queen’s Hall.
The exhibition at the Queen’s Hall on Beaumont Street will display information about the NCC study into the eight options that have apparently been investigated. It will be open from Monday 11 to Friday 15 August during normal opening times for the building, and council staff will be available to answer questions. The sites that have been considered at are Wentworth Car Park; Maiden’s Walk; Hexham Railway Station; Loosing Hill; on-street facilities on Priestpopple; the existing bus station site; the existing bus station site plus land to the south; and land at the south-west corner of Priestpopple and Corbridge Road.
The list of sites was put forward earlier this year by Hexham Town Council, and each was scored against 27 criteria under five themes of: accessibility; functionality; sustainability; safety and security; and cost. The study found that, of the eight site options considered; Loosing Hill, Wentworth Car Park, Maiden’s Walk and Hexham Railway Station could all accommodate the facilities associated with a modern bus station. The features considered essential are: enough space to accommodate five bus stands and accompanying running lanes and manoeuvring space; drop-off, layover and maintenance area; taxi rank, customer waiting area, customer toilets, staff facilities and cycle stands.
Cllr Ian Swithenbank, policy board member responsible for streetcare and environment at Northumberland County Council, said: “We are very keen to engage with and gain comments and feedback from as many people as possible on the options for the bus station. No decision will be made until early autumn, and only after further consultation has been completed.”
The exhibition will be in the foyer of the Queen’s Hall and can be viewed during normal opening times for the building.
This follows a previous drop-in session in the town, which was attended by over 400 people. At that event invitations were extended to representatives of local businesses and organisations, bus companies, local councillors and members of the public. Further information and a feedback form are available on the council’s website at http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/hexbus. A printed copy of the AECOM report is also available at the council’s customer information centre at Hadrian House on Market Street. The council will be analysing all feedback and consultation responses before making a decision in the autumn.
The exhibition will be available during normal opening times for the building, as follows: Mon 10am – 7.30pm; Tues 9am – 5pm; Weds 9am – 5pm; Thurs 10am – 5pm; Fri 9am – 7.30pm
Also this week opponents of the proposed move will rally at 11am on Wednesday 13th August at the bus station site. Dr Anne Pickering has presented her petition of over 4,000 names against the proposed move to NCC officers and will lead Wednesday’s rally.
Hexham Civic Society officially remains open-minded regarding the possible move to Loosing Hill – however, we feel that any commitment to the Loosing Hill site requires a cast-iron guarantee of a very high quality proposal for the vacated site. Unfortunately, as has been seen with recent approvals at the 7 storey retirement flats at the former Baths at Gilesgate, and at the Hexham Goods yard site, design quality may be a low priority for NCC and its preferred developers. We would welcome the views of HCS members on how we should position ourselves here.
On our website poll, 66% of respondents voted to keep the station at its present location, with the remainder favouring Loosing Hill.