The public are being asked to have their say on a major transformation of North Road, Durham City.
With previous consultations showing significant support for the regeneration of North Road, Durham County Council is in the process of delivering several projects to support improvements in the area. Road and path improvements are already underway – after working with Durham Business Improvement District (BID) to bring forward the works as soon as possible – and so the council is now looking to move forward with plans for the new bus station.
When the council last consulted on the scheme in 2014, there was overwhelming support for better facilities with the current bus station considered to be poor. Many suggestions were also received on the details of the scheme which has seen the council work with a range of partners – including Historic England and the Design North East – to further refine the proposals to ensure the new facility both meets the needs of people travelling into and out of Durham by bus, whilst at the same time respecting the beautiful and historic environment of Durham City.
Cllr Neil Foster, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “North Road is a vital part of Durham City and one that is clearly a top priority for residents, businesses and visitors. Being on the north east main line the bus station is not just a major transport hub for those working and living around the county but also a gateway for the whole county. So by creating a new bus station and transforming North Road we hope to improve people’s experience of travelling across County Durham and beyond.”
The proposals would see a new bus station built on the current site of the roundabout and adjacent buildings at the top of North Road. A new junction would be installed allowing for part of North Road to be pedestrianised, providing a gateway to the city and making the bus station and shopping in the area safer, easier and more accessible.
By providing a new bus station and freeing up a location for an improved retail offer –along with the works to upgrade the paving and road layout, funding made available to support businesses to improve their premises, and the private redevelopment taking place of the former Gates shopping centre – the plan for North Road aims to completely transform a major gateway to both the city and county as a whole.
Cllr Foster continued: “A new bus station would allow us to free up prime retail space in the city which, by preparing the site for use, we hope to use to attract major private sector investment. Due to the size of the site it will offer a unique opportunity for a larger store to move into the city centre, creating jobs and further increasing the retail offer for residents and visitors alike. So we’d like everyone to join in and let us know what they think of the plans.”
People can find out more about the proposals, as well as the wider regeneration taking place on North Road, and have their say at www.durham.gov.uk/northroad until Friday, 4 November.
A public exhibition displaying the plans and images of what the proposed bus station would look like will also be held in North Road Methodist Church between 11.00am and 6.00pm on Thursday, 20 and Friday, 21 October.
Adam Deathe, business engagement manager for Durham BID, said: “It’s fantastic to see the proposals which demonstrate the council’s commitment to a better and more prosperous Durham City. With such investment being pumped into the city at the moment from both the public and private sector, the amazing and unique offer that Durham provides is set to be improved even further.
“Redevelopment of North Road is welcomed and a new bus station will make one of the key entry points to the city a far easier and more pleasurable experience. The development of the retail offer will also further increase the city’s appeal for both visitors and those living locally.”
If approved, the new bus station would cost in the region of £8 million with work scheduled to start in the next two to three years.