Hope Exmouth transport plan may still go ahead
PUBLISHED: 12:30 31 March 2017
Plans for an integrated transport interchange in Exmouth could still be revived if authorities work together, it has been said.
The long-held aspiration of a combined train and bus facility suffered a serious setback when the former bus station site was sold for a new M&S Foodhall by Devon County Council (DCC).
However, Exmouth resident John Petty, whose Freedom of Information request revealed the bus station site was sold for just £200,000, says a reduced facility could still be delivered using the site of the old Stagecoach offices behind the railway station.
He said: “There is room for a very second-class sort of transport interchange round the back of the station. But that can only take place if East Devon District Council (EDDC) and DCC combine.”
Mr Petty says, while he was disappointed that the county council sold the bus station site despite it being their policy to pursue transport interchanges, the situation could be salvaged, although this could also mean GWR and Network Rail rethinking planned railway station improvements.
In response, a DCC spokesperson said upgrades were planned, but ruled out bus stops behind the railway station.
The spokesperson said: “The first stage of a multi-modal transport interchange has already been delivered.
“DCC has invested in improving the train station forecourt, added a taxi rank on Marine Way and located the bus stop next to the sports centre, a short distance from the improved forecourt.
“We are working closely with our all partners to deliver further improvements, which will include a new bus shelter on Imperial Road and a diverted cycle route, subject to land discussions with EDDC.
“The creation of new bus stops behind the rail station is not in our current plans.
“It is felt they would be financially unviable, add significantly to journey times and operating costs and potentially impact on fares and service frequencies.
“In addition, it would require the relocation of the current station car park.
“DCC is keen to work with EDDC on the next phase of transport interchange improvements. This could possibly include the public toilet building and the adjacent building which is currently used by Stagecoach on a temporary basis.”
An EDDC spokesperson said: “EDDC has always planned with the town and county councils for a significantly improved transport interchange and wider environment around the rail station in Exmouth.
“The county council has invested in some improvements and we want to see further investment. There is still room for significant improvement in this vital asset for the town.”
A joint statement by GWR and Network Rail said: “We are currently working on plans to develop the station entrance and expect work to start this spring. We have been working with the local authorities and local rail user group, and will continue to engage with local partners in any future planned improvements.”