Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Hexham Bus Station

Firstly let me say I am as bitterly disappointed as anyone that none of the grand schemes mooted by the Council's Labour leadership, as headlined in the Hexham Courant, have came to anything more than press releases.

I am afraid that our town has been misled on our bus station's future.  We have seen three different plans from the new Labour County Council.
- One was to develop the site into a NCC Customer Service hub,
- one was to convert it into the worlds first bus station / library
- and the other to knock the whole thing down, and move it.
Now, it has been revealed we will be getting no bus station at all as the County Council plans to sell it off.

As for actual plans, the only plans I have had any sight of from NCC are those that were presented at Hexham Town Council last Week.

We are proposed a bus stop, and a bus turning solution at the top of Beaumont Street; this has been aptly named the 'do minimum' solution. I couldn't put it better myself.

This is not only disappointing, but it also obviously leads on to associated problems with traffic, buses attempting to pass on Battle Hill, the turning of buses and the safety of pedestrians and, in particular, the safety of children walking to and from our local schools.

I will be extremely surprised if the deal to sell off the County Council's interest in the bus station does not go ahead on the 11th February. None of Hexham's local County Councillors, or indeed Town
Councillors will get a vote. It will be decided by the County Council's Policy Board, which has a
Labour majority.

That is where we are, and I want to address where we go from here:-
1) The Labour Council must explain to local people the huge gap between their many public commitments on the future of our bus station and and the present proposal.

2) I will continue to raise my concerns regarding the impact of the proposals on our town, including the loss of a bus station, a failure to provide the promised facilitates, the loss of a visual amenity at Beaumont Street, traffic on Battle Hill, and road safety at the top of Beaumont Street.

3) If the plans for "an on street bus station" go ahead, I will do everything I can to ensure we end up with decent facilities, including toilets, seating and shelter and that these fit with the aesthetics of our
town. In truth, I find this whole situation with the bus station farcical. We haven't seen a single piece of formal consultation with our town, just Morpeth knows best as usual. The residents of Hexham have been dealt a very poor hand. Former  Mayor of Hexham Rad Hare summed it up best when he
said the whole plan looks a 'fait accompli.'


  1. Spot on, but you might also ask how we can afford free parking but not decent safe facilities for public transport?

  2. It is ironic that it is the LABOUR controlled county council who wish to sell off the "people's" bus station. Many of the people who benefit from it might one think vote Labour. For me it is yet another example of why we need a West Northumberland unitary council. It will happen too late to save Hexham Bus Station. I don't want to put my life on the line (lie in front of a bus) to save the bus station, but honestly what harm has it been doing to anyone? It used to have good facilities, waiting room and toilets. It had a turntable to turn the buses (which has gone to Beamish). It is one of the best located bus stations in Britain. Any half decent council would either cherish the building or at least value the site as the best place for a bus station in the town. I have been told by council officers that park and ride had to go from Castle Road in Prudhoe because it was "dangerous" but the same council proposes on road pickups en masse for Hexham. Meanwhile Ashington and Morpeth have lovely modern off road bus stations. All this is without saying anything about the value of a now rare interwar bus station.

  3. Thank you for your condemnation of this project Mr Opperman. In the light of your clear opposition to the project. May I ask why you were absent from the public demonstration against the plan in Hexham on 13th August 2014. I realise that you are a very busy person.So could I ask you to clarify your position as of today 16/08/14. What do you intend to do about this plan? Over 4000 people have signed the petition against this proposal. That is a sizable proportion of the people whom you represent. Many of the people who rely on the bus station at present are elderly and/or have disabilities. Relocation of the bus station away from it's present location could have a severe impact on their quality of life as they go about their everyday tasks. I am hopeful that you will intervene personally in this matter to ensure that the needs and wishes of the community you serve are effectively met.
    I look forward to hearing from you.