Guardian campaign for new bus station

BUS passengers in Worksop have been left in the cold for too long, and this week YOUR Worksop Guardian is launching a campaign to demand a brand new bus station for the town.

The row of shelters on Hardy Street can hardly be called a bus station, and shivering passengers are demanding to know when they will have a roof over their heads.

“The bus station here is ridiculous and the shelters are rubbish,” said Miriam Allen, of Worksop.

“We need a proper building like Retford has got.”

Ricky Cheetham, 28, from Warsop said it was especially unpleasant for older people to have to wait outside in all weathers.

“It’s not a nice place to be hanging around, and the shelters aren’t much use when it’s busy and raining,” he said.

Retford’s £1.4 million facility opened more than four years ago, and boasts a cafe, toilets and a safe, warm waiting area with seats.

Over in Mansfield work has begun on a modern interchange costing £11.6 million. It is expected to be up and running next year.

This has left Worksop’s bus users reeling, and still without any toilets, seating, or anywhere to get a cup of tea while they wait.

In the past, discussions between Stagecoach - which owns the Hardy Street depot - Notts County Council and Bassetlaw Council have proved fruitless.

It seems everyone agrees we need a new bus station but the question is where? And where will Stagecoach keep its fleet if not in the Hardy Street depot?

Last year’s wintry conditions highlighted the need for an indoor waiting area, when buses were cancelled and passengers left stranded in the snow.

Various sites have been suggested, including the Queen Street car park and Memorial Avenue, but none were taken forward.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann has been outspoken about the delay.

“There is no excuse for it. There are lots of easy solutions.” he said.

Mr Mann said it was up to Notts County Council to stump up the cash for a new bus station in Worksop and get the ball rolling.

He also called for Bassetlaw to have a bus station champion, to co-ordinate discussions and pile pressure on the Council.

Notts County Council has confirmed a new bus station for Worksop remains on its list of capital projects.

Coun Richard Jackson, cabinet member for highways and transport, said Notts County Council was committed to providing a high-quality bus station for Worksop.

“We are continuing to work with Bassetlaw District Council and bus operators to identify a suitable location and more meetings are being held shortly to examine options,” he said.

Bassetlaw Council leader Graham Oxby said he would be delighted to join the Guardian’s campaign to push for Worksop’s new bus station, and looked forward to meeting with all parties in the near future.

“This district council will do anything and everything in its power to ensure a new bus station is achieved,” he said.

“It is the responsibility of the county council to provide a first class bus station and they should include it in their budget proposals for this year.”

Coun David Pressley, with responsibility for community prosperity at Bassetlaw Council, said Worksop bus station was his number one priority within his portfolio this year.

“It would regenerate the town,” he said.

Conservative Councillor Mike Quigley said he could not understand how the current site could be called a bus station.

“When I was a child over 50 years ago I can remember such facilities. It feels like Worksop is stuck in the old days,” he said.

Coun Quigley reiterated that members from all political parties were keen to progress with plans.

Stagecoach East Midlands managing director Gary Nolan said he also shared the vision for Worksop to have a new bus station, and would be working closely with councils to find a solution.

“One of the options talked about was relocating our depot with a view to Hardy Street being the new bus station.”

“At the moment it is in the best location, but the facilities are not ideal because they are constrained by the width of the road,” he said.

Meetings are expected to be held in the next few weeks to look at more options.