Hexham bus station: protest demonstration takes place opposing plans

A demonstration is to be staged at Hexham today by opponents of plans to move the town's bus station

Dr Anne Pickering who has collected a petition with over 1865 names on to keep Hexham bus station where it is
Dr Anne Pickering who has collected a petition with over 1865 names on to keep Hexham bus station where it is

Opponents of plans to move a Northumberland town bus station are to stage a demonstration today.

Some 6,500 signatures have bene collected on a petition and survey calling for the station at Hexham to be left where it is.

And protesters have now teamed up with traders to organise a march from the site to the venue of an exhibition of plans for the replacement of the facility.

Northumberland County Council agreed this February to enter into an exclusivity agreement for the sale of its interest in the bus station to property developer Dysart.

The company, which owns some property around the site, would develop flats on the site with bus stops to be created on Priestpopple.

 

The council also approved, in principal, the relocation of the existing bus facilities - with an agreement that the site will not be sold or passed over to the developer until the alternative provision has been developed.

In June, the authority announced the results of a study it had commissioned into eight possible options for the development of a new station put forward by Hexham Town Council.

The county council named Loosing Hill its preferred location and said plans would be drawn up. A consultation event was organised for July.

A further exhibition of all eight options is taking place in the town this week, while further consultation work is also being carried out.

Dr Anne Pickering, a former town councillor lives in a property at nearby Oakwood which was built by Harry Darlington - the man who built the bus station in 1938. She has now organised the demonstration for 11am today, in partnership with traders.

They will march from the station along Fore Street to outside Queen’s Hall, where the exhibition is taking place.

Dr Pickering said the Loosing Hill site would result in loss of parking space and is too far from the town centre.

She added: “The demonstrators feel that the county council are not listening to public opinion and the request to leave the bus station where it is and incorporate it into a scheme by the chosen developer.”

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment at the county council, said: “We are listening to public opinion and a protest march is a bit premature.

“We recognise the right to hold a peaceful demonstration but we hope this does not deter those people who wish to attend the exhibition, from doing so.

“The exhibition is on every day this week and I’d encourage people to come in and find out for themselves the eight options that are being investigated.

“We want to make sure everyone has the chance to take part in the consultation and will be carrying out further engagement work.

“We are particularly keen to hear the views of the people who use the bus service and we will be talking to parish and town councils across West Northumberland. The council will be analysing all feedback and consultation responses before making a decision in the autumn.”

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