Traffic commissioner urged to act over Cromer bus station ‘safety concern’
Transport campaigners have gone to the top to demand that every local bus uses Cromer's new station.
But, despite safety fears about buses using a narrow nearby street, a shortage of cash could see the situation staying the same for many months or even years.
Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group (NNTAG) has asked the eastern area traffic commissioner to step in to stop 30-40 buses each day continuing to drive past the bus station and along Cadogan Road.
With double-parking on the road, there are safety fears over the practice - and some anger that six years of campaigning for the return of the bus station has not resolved the issue.
But Norfolk County Council, which leases the site from developer Ortona, said the station would only be used by all buses once phase two of a redevelopment programme - including demolition of the former tourist information centre - could be paid for.
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And Cromer campaigner Canon Derek Elton said the current situation was a 'big improvement', and added that he was 'very pleased to see' so many buses using the interchange.
In the letter to the traffic commissioner, who is based in Cambridge, NNTAG chairman John Peacock wrote: 'For the past six years we have campaigned to retain Cromer bus station and to prevent the site being turned into flats and retail use.
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'We were therefore delighted when on August 10 the bus station was officially re-opened.'
He said that during the time that the station was closed, all buses had to use Cadogan Road and its bus stop, opposite the bus station.
He added: 'This road is unsuitable, narrow and with parked cars on both sides of the road, which makes it only just wide enough for buses to get through.'
Mr Peacock said that at the time there was 'no alternative route', and said: 'When the bus station re-opened we were very concerned to learn that there would still be 30 to 40 westbound buses using Cadogan Road each day.
'We did not spend the last six years campaigning to get Cromer bus station re-opened, only to see it operating at half capacity and for the Cadogan Road bus stop to continue in use as a safety concern for bus users and local residents.'
A county council spokesman said: 'The number of buses using the Cadogan Road stop is now at a more manageable level. We would not be able to accommodate all bus services in the new bus interchange at Cromer until we can fund the second phase which incorporates demolishing the old tourist information centre building and creating a central island.
'Until this is possible we have to continue to carefully manage and use the Cadogan Road stop for a percentage of the buses.'
Canon Elton said: 'I understand why some of the buses are still using Cadogan Road. I think there would be some traffic problems if all the buses used the station.
'But it might be an idea if more of the buses use the bus station, so that people don't have to wait in the rain.'
When the bus station was re-opened earlier this month, it was the culmination of six years of effort by local people, pressure groups and the county council.
Ortona had hoped to build 12 flats and a shop on the site, which closed when First buses gave up the lease.
The move had always been vigorously opposed by local residents and campaigners hoping to preserve the station for future use as a transport hub, and North Norfolk District Council first refused planning permission in 2005.
The council was opposed to the plan because it would effectively end any possibility of the bus station being reopened. Since then there have been several court actions and planning appeals – with the last one in 2010 finding in favour of the council.