Another hitch for new bus station plan

Kenlis Street Car Park �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1448-288EB
Kenlis Street Car Park �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1448-288EB

Plans for the proposed Banbridge bus station and park and ride facility at Kenlis Street, have hit yet another set back.

It is now two years since Transport Minister Danny Kennedy announced funding for the construction of a new £0.74m off-street bus facility for Banbridge.

It was originally hoped that it would be completed by the end of 2013.

But the project has been dogged by problems and delays with plans for the bus facility ‘being reduced to little more than a bus shelter. ‘

The latest delay was revealed following a request by Councillor Baird for an update on progress at the council meeting on Monday, November 3.

At the meeting the Director of Leisure and Development, Catriona Regan, said that the scheme at Kenlis Street would have to be completely redesigned, due to the adjacent Iceland property having been placed on the market for sale.

Although the design phase for the scheme had been completed at the end of August, Translink were engaged in purchasing a small plot of land from Iceland, to enable off-street parking the area to be retained.

As a result of the land now for sale, Catriona Regan said: “The scheme at Kenlis Street will be completely redesigned so it will not require the adjacent land owned by Iceland.

Catriona Regan added: “The amended design will have to be submitted to DoE Planning Service for approval but the Department of Regional Development continues to support the project even though it will reduce the number of spaces within the car park”.

In response to a query regarding how long the redesign will take, she said: “I have been given no indication of the time frame for completion of the project”.

Speaking about the latest set back, Councillor Baird said: “Obviously we are disappointed in this latest news, and apart from anything, I feel we deserve more than just a bus shelter for the town.

“We’ve had problems with land and things have just not been going our way, but we await to hear what the outcome of this will be at the next meeting.” Welcoming the chance to rethink the design, councillor McElroy also said current proposals were not adequate.

“The design of the bus station should be revisited as the current proposal is not suitable for the Northern Ireland climate. A bus station should provide shelter and have facilities for the provision of refreshments for passengers while they wait on their bus.”