Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Belper Town Council plan to ban buses from King Street

Our town council correspondant attended last night's Belper Town Council meeting and reports that the council voted to approach the county council with a plan to ban all traffic from the middle of King Street with buses being diverted from the stand outside Poundland to the stop adjacent to Iceland or via the Trent Barton bus garage on Chapel Street.

Poundland bus stop
The proposal was introduced to the meeting by the Tory leader Councillor John Nelson during a debate concerning shops on King Street encroaching on the pavements. The solution, said Councillor Nelson, was to completely pedestrianise the middle of King Street to increase the footfall in the middle of the town and open up the possibility for attractions such as "Punch & Judy" (yes he actually said that). He went further, saying that, "damned Trent buses" should use their bus garage and not King Street.

It was an astonishing leap from an agenda item concerning some complaints received by Councillor Joe Booth about shops taking up too much space outside their premises. Two councillors with retail experience cautioned about the possible harmful effects of full pedestrianisation and mentioned that other councils used the threat of legal action to manage pavement encroachment but our town council voted instead to investigate what is the procedure they must follow to ban all traffic.

Iceland bus stop
This plan would constitute a radical change in the life of the town not least for the shoppers who await their buses, sitting comfortably on the 4 benches outside Poundland, The council would move them to the Iceland stop at the foot of King Street where there is no room to provide the same level of seating nor could the bus stand accommodate the combined number of buses that currently use both stops(5 routes outside Iceland and 4 routes via Poundland) . The northbound 6.2, 6.3, 6.4/X, 7.1 & 7.2  would have to be diverted via the bus garage thus inconveniencing both passengers and the flow of traffic on Chapel Street.

Councillor Nelson mentioned the pollution caused by buses in King Street, a valid point but surely the emphasis should be on tackling the issue of diesel engine fumes throughout the whole of the town, not just in King Street; simply moving the existing buses to another bus stop merely moves the place where passengers and other pedestrians inhale the exhaust fumes. The obvious way forward would be to adopt hybrid buses on the routes through Belper: link to diesel/electric hybrid buses on Wikipedia. This type of bus is designed to run in electric mode through town centres and would become increasingly popular if only our national Tory government had not reneged on the UK carbon emissions target. This is the 21st century, a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of Tories at both national and local level.

Hybrid bus demonstrator - adopted by the city of Hanoi, Vietnam

For the sake of completeness it has to be mentioned that not only did the council vote to contact the DCC on this matter but they want it to be included in the Neighbourhood Plan for Belper which, as BelperStuff posted yesterday, is the subject of a meeting being held tonight at St.John's Chapel (18;30 - a bit early for some).

1 comment:

It's ok to listen to the grey voice said...

BelperStuff received an interesting anonymous comment about two shops that encroach on the pavement but unfortunately named those shops. Comments are moderated on this blog but the only options allowed the moderator are to publish or delete; if only it were possible to blank out any contentious or litigious words. May I suggest that if you have any specific information that you contact Belper Town Council. It should then be a simple matter for the council to negotiate a reasonable outcome with the shops concerned.