Works at Durham City bus station continue as North Road business fears the worst

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Construction of a “state of the art” bus station in the heart of Durham City is now well underway as aims to provide first-class facilities on the site of the current bus station, which serves as a major transport hub for both city and county.

However, local businesses on North Road have been affected by the delayed works, with one saying that “If the council don’t help with financial aid there may very well not be any businesses left”.

Following the completion of the groundworks and foundations, the steel frame of the new station is now being put up, with the project on track to be completed next year.

Work on the new bus station began last year with the demolition of the old building.

There were some initial delays due to additional unforeseen works which emerged during the course of the demolition, as well as some difficulties sourcing some of the materials required for the work to be in keeping with the conservation area.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We are very pleased to be making such good progress on a new bus station for Durham City.

“The development is going to be a huge asset to the city centre, with the light and airy setting providing a warm welcome to those visiting Durham. Offering more space and access for passengers and increased safety for buses, we hope the new station will encourage more people to use public transport and travel sustainably. This supports us in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions across the county.

“It will also help to attract more people into the city, supporting its independent retailers and hospitality sector, and indoor and outdoor markets as they continue their recovery from the effects of the pandemic.”

“We hope the new station will encourage more people to use public transport and travel sustainably.”

Cllr elizabeth scott

To help minimise the impact on local traders, signs have been put in place to advise passing motorists that North Road remains open for business.

A number of bus services have also been reallocated to reduce crowding at certain stands on North Road, making it easier to access retail stores and hospitality.

Cllr Scott added: “This new, first-class bus station will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of North Road, attracting additional investment and more trade in the area. We are doing everything we can to minimise disruption during the works. We would also like to thank everyone for their patience while we redevelop the station into a state-of-the-art facility.”

In spite of this, one North Road business owner has vented his frustration. James Gardener, founder and owner of beanSOCIAL, almost had to close down his cafe this summer due to the effects of the delayed development of the bus station.

Gardener said “Well it’s all just meaningless words from a standard format letter. The fact that the bus stop layout chokes the street is what’s causing the drastic downturn in trade. Yes the new bus station will no doubt improve the city, which is why we chose this location, but the organisation and planning is a joke.

“If the council don’t help with financial aid there may very well not be any businesses left when the bus station eventually gets complete. This is a sentiment shared by local business owners and the local population. Yet the council refuse to open their ears. What a pity.”

“The fact that the bus stop layout chokes the street is what’s causing the drastic downturn in trade.”

james gardener

Palatinate contacted the council for response. Mark Jackson, ’s head of transport and contract services, said: “We are aware of Mr Gardener’s concerns and our economic development team is currently looking at what can be done to support businesses in attracting passing trade.

“Work on the bus station is progressing well and, once complete, the redevelopment will provide a state of the art, first class facility that can act as a catalyst for the regeneration of North Road, helping local businesses by attracting additional investment in the area which has the potential to generate more footfall.

“We have experienced some unforeseen issues with the project and difficulties sourcing some of the materials required for the work to be in keeping with the conservation area, but we are doing everything we can to minimise impact on local traders. Signs are in place to advise passing motorists that North Road remains open for business. We also consider feedback on the use of temporary bus stops, have reallocated services previously to reduce crowding at certain stands, and remain open to doing so.

“We continue to work towards the new facility opening as soon as possible in 2023 and thank people for their patience and understanding in the meantime.”

The new station has been designed to increase the overall space for passengers and improve visibility and safety for buses leaving the station. This includes increasing the reversing area for bus leaving bays and widening the exit onto North Road to improve visibility, with additional pedestrian access also being created.

Inside, there will also be improved facilities including parent and child toilets and a changing places unit, as well as improved seating and space in the passenger waiting area. The plans also include a two-storey area with office space.

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