RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROJECT TO IMPROVE BUS FACILITIES IN TOWN CENTRE TAKEN ON BY COUNCIL

The lead responsibility for the project to improve bus facilities in the town centre has been taken on by Crewkerne Town Council. Community project No8 in the Crewkerne Community Action Plan 2016-2026 is an ABCD initiative. A Better Crewkerne & District (ABCD) is a community regeneration charity. The current chairperson is Diane Butler and vice chair Angie Singleton. The long term goal for project 8, is to provide a bus shelter with seating, so that passengers will have a dry place to wait for buses and less mobile citizens will not have to stand when waiting for a bus. ABCD’s proposed action for addressing these issues was to explore the potential to site the bus stop in the town centre, at an alternative suitable location that would allow for a shelter and a bench. Their preferred site is at the top left hand side of Market Street (as shown in the photo).

Former town councillor Peter Chard, raised his objection to relocating the bus stop, when he spoke in the public participation session at the council meeting. Mr Chard said: “It is okay where it is, provided the bus drivers pull in properly into the bay. I have reservations on losing car parking space and that lorries will park there when no buses are around and cause traffic chaos.” Crekwnere town councillors took on board Mr Chard’s comments. Councillor Mike Best reminded councillors that the bus stop had originally been at the proposed site and councillor Rusty Jackson said: “There is no loss of parking spaces, it’s a reversal.”

Colin Coggan, seated in the public area, who serves on the executive committee of ABCD was asked how much the project would cost. He explained that the ABCD wanted the proposal accepted before they did the costings. Councillor Angie Singleton reminded councillors that £35,000 had been ring fenced at Somerset County Hall. A public survey of passengers waiting at town centre bus stops, was carried out by ABCD volunteers last Summer.

Councillor Katy Pritchard was not convinced that the survey report was at the right level. She advised that the research needed to be carried out by an independent body. Following a vigorous discussion with much debate, the town council was asked to take the project forward by adopting it. Councillor Katy Pritchard tabled a counter proposal to this, but was advised by councillor Angie Singleton that this could not be done and that in her opinion, negative responses to the proposal were unhelpful. Crewkerne Town Council voted to adopt the bus stop project, with a majority vote. Councillors will carry out further research by consulting with businesses, the police and wider community.

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