Dereham bus interchange work delayed

PUBLISHED: 06:02 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:01 07 July 2010

WORK on a new interchange to solve Dereham's town centre bus problems is not likely to take place until at least next year, the Times was told this week.

WORK on a new interchange to solve Dereham's town centre bus problems is not likely to take place until at least next year, the Times was told this week.

Lack of a “clear consensus” and council bureaucracy has held up Norfolk County Council's proposed scheme, which was approved by Dereham Town Council more than a year ago and was due to be built in 2008/9.

Since then the cost has gone up from £115,000 in 2007 to £350,000 last year and the finance, half of it at least, has been shifted from the county council's 2008/9 budget to a “provisional” 2009/10 budget.

Yesterday Tony Needham, clerk to Dereham Town Council, said the move was vital to helping the town's markets expand and to remove the problem of buses turning in Market Place.

The town council approved scheme would see all buses redirected to enter Market Place from the High Street direction.

It would also see all bus stops moved to adjacent to the parking area on the west side of Market Place.

However, the Dereham Society has campaigned for an alterative location, possibly off Cowper Road, for the bus interchange as part of their vision for a pedestrianised Market Place.

A spokesman for the county council said there is £150,000 for the scheme in the provisional 2009/10 capital programme.

“While the need for the bus interchange has been generally accepted in Dereham, it has been difficult to get a clear consensus on exactly how it should be achieved,” he said.

“An outline proposal needs further design work that takes account of the differing views, as well as a safety study and the emerging market town strategy for Dereham, and the available resources.”

The market town strategy was a transport study, which has been submitted to Breckland Council as part of a new planning blueprint it is producing.

“Assuming it passes an initial value for money examination, it will be considered by members of the council, probably next month, as part of the overall planning and transportation capital programme,” the spokesman continued.

The scheme would then go through more design and consultation. If this went ahead smoothly it could start early in 2010, he said.

He added: “We have been doing a lot in the background to make sure it is ready for inclusion in the capital programme - although of course members of the council will have the final decision.”

A Dereham Market Place accident investigation study was completed in October, followed by a revised bus interchange feasibility study, issued on January 22.

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