Bus station site plan turned down

Hopes have been raised that Cromer's bus station could be reopened after a bid to redevelop the site received another blow.

Hopes have been raised that Cromer's bus station could be reopened after a bid to redevelop the site received another blow.

Owners Ortona want to build a shop and 12 flats in a scheme which was bitterly opposed by transport campaigners - and has now been given the thumbs down by a government planning inspector.

It means that officials are now keen to reopen the bus station, even though there are tentative plans for an alternative scheme 120m further away from the town centre.

News of the appeal decision over the redevelopment of the land, on the corner of Prince of Wales Road and Cadogan Road, was announced this week.

The plans were turned down by North Norfolk District Council last October because of concerns about the loss of the bus station, which shut to buses last April

The appeal result was welcomed by campaigners who fought to save the complex.

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John Peacock, spokesman for Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group, said: “The bus station, as it stands, is in a prime position.

“We have always felt that retaining the bus station would be the best option and that it should be taken out of private ownership.”

Canon Derek Elton, who has also campaigned hard to retain the station, said: “At one stage it did not look very likely that the bus station would be reopened but we are thrilled that this decision has been made. We hope the county council can do what they say.”

Norfolk County Council planning and transportation spokeswoman Melanie Willis said that though a planning application had been submitted to build a bus station on the Cadogan Road car park the council's preferred option was still to keep the existing bus station.

She said the planning inspector's view that the long-established bus station land should remain for use by the public was welcome news.

"We will now be looking to speak to all parties concerned and work out the best way forward for ultimately achieving a bus station in Cromer."

The council was in talks with the major bus companies, and Ortona, who were unavailable for comment.

The planning inspector's report indicated the site should not be redeveloped unless concrete plans for an alternative bus station could be shown.

Inspector Mike Moore said losing the existing bus station site would be “a significant retrograde step” unless it was clear not only that the facilities could be provided elsewhere but also there was funding to achieve the move.

Since the closure, and switching of buses to roadside stops, there had been no major impact on traffic congestion. Although the station, which handled 70 departures on a typical day, did not have full facilities such as toilets, it was still an important facility which supported use of public transport.

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