How long will Cardiff be without a bus station?
Cardiff Civic Society has been actively involved in the discussions about infrastructure development over many years. We are convinced that the lack of progress on several fronts is seriously handicapping the city in supporting the ambitious growth plans outlined recently at the Policy Forum for Wales in July.
Two key issues concern us.
REPLACEMENT BUS STATION
No planning application for the new bus station has been submitted, despite claims last November that it would be approved by May this year. The critical 50/50 bus utilisation strategy in the LDP requires improved bus service capacity from development areas into the city centre, and the lack of transparency over this critical facility is evidence that the design cannot be finalised.
Issues such as capacity (reducing from 22 to 14 bays does require justification in the face of a massive increase in services), access, congestion, use of adjacent streets as bus lay-over bays, pollution, Metro/coach integration are outstanding and will determine whether or not the scheme is feasible. The planned opening in December 2017 is clearly already at risk.
What date is now envisaged? What are the forecasts of service growth, particularly from the planned new developments? We have a thousand questions to ask, and need to be sure that the plans are exposed to consultation to test their adequacy. Only full transparency of this scheme will enable these questions to be answered.
CCS has three questions in relation to the above that need a swift response, questions that have been asked repeatedly by the public.
a. What date does the council expect to submit a planning application for the replacement bus station?
- Will there be a full public consultation on the proposals for the bus station and surrounding streets?
- When will the bus station be completed and fully functional, and the National Express coaches removed from Sophia Gardens?
The LDP was approved in January 2016 on condition that a serious infrastructure plan was to be produced within three months, this is now months overdue. Failure to do as the inspector requested is a breach of the planning process, and is an insult to groups such as CCS who spent thousands of man hours providing input to the examinations. At the recent Policy Forum for Wales event in July it was suggested that growth cannot be achieved without ‘a step change in economic performance’ through a ‘big transformational agenda’, this means infrastructure improvements on a massive scale. As roads are at capacity, the investment will need to be in public transport. Lack of a revised and credible infrastructure plan suggests the council does not know what to put in it.
Cardiff Civic Society ask.
- When will the infrastructure plan be delivered – a timescale is needed.
- Will there be public consultation to explain how increased traffic from the massive building projects approved by the LDP will be managed with effective public transport.