Green light for town bus station

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson with Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy MLA surveying the plans for Banbridge's first Bus Station.
Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson with Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy MLA surveying the plans for Banbridge's first Bus Station.

Following months of set-backs, work on the long-awaited Ulsterbus facility at Kenlis Street is due to commence at the end of this month.

Local politicians have welcomed the news that construction will begin on Monday, July 27.

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, who has lobbied for new facilities for Banbridge since her election to the Assembly in 2011, said she is looking forward to seeing the new structure taking shape.

“This is very welcome news for Banbridge residents and also town-centre businesses as it will attract new customers as well as reduce congestion within the town,” said Mrs Dobson.

“The facility will mean more comfortable bus services for the people of the town and I commend Translink and the Transport Minister for their work on this project.”

Upper Bann MP David Simpson, a long standing champion of the bus station, has also welcomed the news.

“Along with my colleague we have lobbied for the new facilities for many years and I am delighted to eventually see the fruits of our labour,” said Mr Simpson.

“Congestion caused by buses has been a long-standing problem in Banbridge particularly during school term time. During school-run the town centre can be virtually choked with buses.

“Going ahead would also free up car parking spaces in Newry Street,” Mr Simpson continued.

“I know this will be welcomed by the people of Banbridge and we look forward to its speedy completion.”

Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Darryn Causby also commented that this is great news.

“This development sends out a positive message to locals, visitors and potential investors that Banbridge is a town worth investing in.

“It would be remiss not to credit the former Banbridge District Council for playing a key role in bringing this new facility to the town,” he said.

At the end of last year concerns were raised about the facility’s adequacy, with former Councillor Baird saying she felt Banbridge ‘deserved more than just a bus shelter’ and former Councillor McElroy saying it was ‘not suitable for the Northern Ireland climate’.

However the structure, which will include a new ticket and information kiosk, covered stands and seating, a passenger waiting area as well as four bus bays has generally been welcomed positively.

Ms Dobson reminded locals that ‘this is a first for Banbridge,’ and Councillor Glenn Barr said: “No other minister has delivered for Banbridge - this is a positive and we shouldn’t look for the negatives. This is better than nothing for the town”.

Short-term disruption is anticipated during the construction phase, however assurances have been given that work will be conducted to minimise impact on residents in the area.

Work is expected to be largely completed by the beginning of next year at which stage the current Newry Street facilities, which will remain open during the construction, will be closed and all services will operate from the new station.