A multi-million pound project to deliver a new state-of-the-art bus station in the heart of Durham City is getting back on track following unforeseen issues.
Durham County Council is delivering the project to provide new first-class facilities on the site of the current station, which serves as a major transport hub for both the city and county.
The new development will ensure footfall into the city centre to support its independent retailers, its hospitality sector, and its indoor and outdoor markets. It will also help support businesses in their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by virtue of bringing people into Durham and encourage more people to use sustainable forms of transport, reducing carbon emissions.
Work began on site in February last year with the demolition of the old station building. In the course of the demolition, it emerged that additional unforeseen works would be required to support a grade two listed building adjacent to the site, before construction on the new station could begin.
These works, for which additional approval had to be sought given the building’s listed status, are now close to completion allowing the final phase of groundworks on-site to begin this week ahead of construction of the new station.
The extra work now means the council is working towards delivering the scheme by Spring 2023, the original target date for the project.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, the council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We are delighted that we are now on the brink of construction work on the new station getting underway.
“The new facility represents a significant investment by the council which will bring people into the city who will spend money at shops and hospitality businesses; all helping our economy to recover following the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The new state-of-the-art facilities can also only help encourage more people to use public transport, which is more sustainable and helps in our ambitions to reduce car journeys and emissions.
“The additional works we have had to carry out were completely unforeseeable but now they are almost complete we are excited to be at the point of beginning construction and very much working towards providing a new transport hub that befits our wonderful city and county by Spring 2023.”
The new station has been designed to increase the overall space for passengers in a light and airy setting, with improved visibility and safety for buses leaving the station. This includes increasing the reversing area for bus leaving bays and widening the exit onto North Road to improve visibility, with additional pedestrian access also being created.
Inside, there will also be increased facilities including parent and child toilets and a changing places toilet, as well as improved seating and space in the passenger waiting area. The plans also include a two-storey area with office space.
In March 2020, the North East was awarded £198million from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund to aid the delivery of sustainable transport capital measures and the bus station project was the first scheme in the region to benefit from the funds, with additional funding provided by the council.
In January 2021, the North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC) allocated an additional £3.6million towards the project following a successful bid by the council.
All services which normally stop at the bus station have been relocated to the eastern side of North Road and nearby Milburngate.
New stands were installed along North Road to accommodate these changes and the council made some temporary changes to the road layout to accommodate the bus stops.
The authority continues to monitor the temporary bus stands for any issues and is committed to reviewing their locations if necessary, while businesses on North Road and the surrounding area remain open as usual.
For more information about the new bus station and details of which buses will be stopping at which temporary stations while construction work is ongoing, go to https://www.durham.gov.uk/durhambusstation
A video update on the station project can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV3VJfDwz9g