Sunday 13 July 2014

It's All Happening (more from Saturday 5th)

Chunk the Second.
This is St Paul's Church in Exeter ...
... now demolished.
And this is Paul Street with its ancient timber framed housing ...
... also long since demolished. And this is replaced them; Paul Street bus station ...
... rudimentary but not far from Exeter Central Station.
And this is what replaced all of the above!
On the left, the architecturally stunning Guildhall shopping centre; and on the right the equally magnificent Harlequin Centre. Progress indeed!

It is true that the Exeter Blitz of May 1942 destroyed much of the city's shopping areas ...
... (Exeter Central Station in grey at the top) but the destruction of Paul Street had begun long before a man with a silly haircut and silly moustache attempted to obliterate "the jewel of the west". But post-war development led to the building of a brand new bus station at the opposite end of High Street from the Paul Street original.

It opened in 1964 and celebrated its 50th Birthday on Saturday 5th July.
click on the image to enlarge

For the old bus enthusiast (who loves old buses!) there was plenty to enjoy.
But what of the future? Well, you'll never guess. Exeter Council had identified the block containing the bus station as ripe for development which, being interpreted, is "a chance to make ooddles of extra cash to keep the council going."

So Exeter is to get a super swish swimming pool ...
... more shops to go bust, lots of overpriced flats and offices. The whole existing block is to be razed ...
... but this time there is little of architectural merit to be destroyed. The swimming pool is to appear to the left of the roundabout bottom right.
The steps (right) once led up to the "coach station" part of the facility, now a bus and staff car park and used for the big assembly of buses illustrated above. The current bus station part is alongside Bampfylde Street.

But where, pray, is the new bus station?

Errr ...?

Reading the on-line "stuff", fbb has gathered two salient "facts". (a) the new bus station was to be "smaller" and (b) it might have been on the site of the present Cheeke Street Stagecoach bus garage. Well what a surprise. Faced with the huge success of Hanley bus station (First are moving back to town centre stops) and the riotous adulation of Northampton's new bus station, the Council's experts are planning something (a) smaller and (b) further from the City centre.


There may yet be hope. Due to "the economic downturn" the plans are being "reviewed" and may be "scaled back" in the "short term".
Note the use of pre-set text from the Don't Panic "Fudgeanissue" guide, issued to (and used by) all Councils in the UK; an invaluable aid to handling any contentious local authority policy. Also available from all good bookshops!

Karime Hassan, Exeter’s chief executive, said: “The challenge of funding a new bus station together with the proposed leisure and retail development is significant but could be assisted through new funding initiatives now being established under the LEP. Hopefully the LEP will embrace the economic case to support funding into the scheme and invite a bid for funding under the newly created single pot."

The existing bus station will be retained in the short term but a site for a new bus station will continue to be safeguarded.

Time alone will tell.
Appointments (possibly?)
First Leicester are seeking an enthusiastic young person
To join their customer service team as a Twit writer
The previous holder of this post has been promoted to "a spokesperson"
An opportunity to interface with the public,
to make a difference to peoples lives,
to share in the success of the company.
A good command of written English is essential,
"A" level or A* GCSE is essential
Familiarity with modern technology is desirable but training can be given.
Office hours and no weekend work. Remuneration package by negotiation.

And, just in case you wondered, the above were the ONLY twits posted by the First Leicester "team" on the dates shown; a very useful service.
 Next bus blog : Monday 14th July 


  1. Seems like the standard answer to overcome lack of economic growth that most Councils seem to have had in recent years. Build a new shopping centre or revamp/extend the existing one. This will draw in more people to spend money in the money, create jobs etc. The town will appear more vibrant and more will follow. Complete the package by pedestrianising the streets to permit more pavements cafe's and street entertainment. This will bring in more people from further afield (at the expense of other towns, who will then want to do the same). This means we have to provide more car parking and road space etc.The last priority will be the buses on the basis that the passengers will mostly be local and still come here anyway.

    This will all be cooked up by the town centre management and economic development people with political support and touted as the answer to the town's problems etc.

    As the article seems to say the last priority or concern will be buses and anyone raising concerns will be accused of being unhelpful and holding back the prosperity of the town!!

  2. Similar things look to be afoot in Winchester, where the developers proposed to 'redevelop' the bus station area, as part of the Silverhill complex, replacing the bus station with a smaller, more remote facility.

    Now, it would seem they want to maximise the number of shops and completely drop the idea of a replacement bus station from their scheme. Wintonians are not happy !

  3. When they went to put the second shopping centre into Maidstone it was initially supposed to retain a through road for buses that would have provided a 'direct' link to the East station on the line of an existing road. When this was queried the blunt answer was that the scheme couldn't afford to fund it and it wouldn't go ahead. With the competition between towns in the area to attract this and similar developments nothing must get in the way. Buses would have to take the longer route around the outside.

    In Sittingbourne the council want buses out of the High Street once again as part of an ongoing plan to rebuild etc the centre but also expect investment in new buses, increased frequency and green technology. Its the operators being unhelpful when it doesn't happen on demand!

  4. Exeter's bus station is a little complicated, it doesn't need as big a site as it currently has in total (i.e: including both upper & lower portions) but it needs a bigger site than it is currently using as a bus station (i.e: the upper half). The top half struggles to cope with all the services and you often find the buses can't get on the proper stand as there is nowhere to drop off on arrival & nowhere to leave a bus if you have a bit of layover. For this to work it appears to require a new depot for Stagecoach & a new coach park near the centre for visiting coaches to park in as well as the new bus station which seems a lot of extra resource to get anything close to what they have and when has a council ever bothered to ensure they do everything properly when they see a development opportunity that might entail damaging the bus infrastructure. It would seem the easiest solution would be to use the lower (the coach station) portion as a new bus station (the site would be big enough to offer more stands & parking particularly if Stagecoach opened their depot for coach parking during the day) whilst offering the chance to build a shopping centre over at least part of the site across the upper half.

    There appear to be a spate of new bus station most of which appear to be pretty useless for what they have been designed for, Nottinghamshire's new ones appear pretty good & both West Yorkshire & Greater Manchester also appear to have decent standard layouts. Leicester is about to redevelop Haymarket Bus Station which will convert it from a run-through to an end-on bus station, unfortunately there isn't really enough room for a proper end-on bus station so the design currently looks like it will offer almost no queueing room for passengers waiting for buses as the only way they can provide room for the buses to manoeuvre (though no real parking/layover space). The design does have more stands than the current bus station (almost double) but the only way they can fit it in is by slewing the road and so removing most of the on-road stops on the top of Charles Street & is also predicated on closing the Haymarket on-road stops & pedestrianizing that road so despite all the fuss made about the extra stands there won't really be more stops and stop congestion in those areas is already a problem. Every time Leicester City Council redevelops any of the city centre roads all the succeed in doing is reducing the number of stops & parking spots for buses, a recent redevelopment of Humberstone Gate has a dreadful effect in this regard.