RESPONSE TO THE BUS STATIONS PROPOSALS BY THE SUDBURY SOCIETY
We are pleased to see positive movement on the bus station issue. At last the bus station is to be moved from its earlier favoured site within the development area thus maximising the area’s attraction to potential developers.
We would go further and see this process as also a means of promoting and encouraging bus use.
Successive Local Transport Plans have prioritised bus use over car use in the cause of reducing traffic density and pollution and easing pressure on parking provision. These issues will become still more pressing with the projected developments in Chilton and Cornard threatening to make the town’s existing road network intolerable.
Has any survey been undertaken of bus use in conjunction with bus operators? Has any consultation been undertaken with regular, occasional and potential bus users? How many are disadvantaged by limited services and operating hours – young and older people, people/families without cars or ready access to one? Is there/will there be a need for more town based services connecting more frequently to the Health Centre, to out of town outlets? Despite mention in the Local Plan of a “bus rail interchange” there is no provision here to connect with commuter trains. And how many people need to change buses to reach these and other destinations?
We submit that such a survey and consultation should be undertaken before proceeding much further.
THE SPLIT SITE OPTION – OUR RESPONSE
Appears to be more appropriate for setting down than picking up, given the restricted strip of land devoted to it and the absence of facilities and would be dangerous alongside a busy traffic lane.
Great Eastern Road
Offers more scope for integration with an active street frontage to the development, but it does not seem to be well conceived with the suggested central reservation inhibits a range of car and bus movements. The necessary turning space facilitated by the proposed roundabout might be more efficient as a shared space making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists. A roundabout could have numerous entry/exit points and could easily clog up. It might also be better sited using part of the Roys carpark. All this could be computer modelled.
This is a feature of current bus services and could have implications for both stations, most particularly for the Girling Street one.
This does not feature in the proposals but large and small coaches use the present bus station because it offer waiting space and can accommodate passengers arriving or departing by car or taxi. Promoting the town as a tourist destination could mean more such vehicles.
Could both these needs be met by providing space on the far side of the roundabout/turning space with the current lorry park, marked as due for resiting, being absorbed into the main carpark leaving only space for Waitrose deliveries?
OUR RESPONSE TO THE KEY OBJECTIVES
1 To develop a scheme which is commercially viable and capable of delivery.
2 To ensure Sudbury is an accessible and vibrant centre.
3 To provide economic growth and employment in the area.
8 To improve the pedestrian flow to provide a clearer connection to the town centre.
Fulfilment of these remains to be seen. One of the keys to a successful outcome as well as removal of the bus station will be an active frontage at ground level from Market Hill via the Winch and Blatch route, through the development area and along Great Eastern Road. There obviously needs to be close collaboration Winch and Blatch who fairly made a planning application to upgrade this route for public use.
This is achievable but only with close collaboration with bus operators and a better understanding through consultation of how an increase in bus use might be encouraged.
7 To ensure links from (and to?) the rail station and car parks in this part of town are enhanced.
This has not been addressed in terms of bus use and should be.
6 To make the area more attractive and inviting.
This will be achieved provided there is first rate urban, landscape and architectural design, right down to the details. Babergh and Suffolk should be proactive, employing consultants as necessary, and set the high standards that they expect of themselves and of developers.
We attach for consideration two sketches, prepared by the Society at an earlier stage in the discussions about this part of town, showing how the twin bus stations might be combined in Great Eastern Road and resolving many of the problems posed by separating them.
That Lloyds Bank garden, with agreed public access, might provide a green space in the heart of the town was suggested by the commissioned Civic Trust study of this area. published in October 2006.
ST 16 July 2015