Residents are being encouraged to express their views on plans to replace a dated city centre bus station with a more modern and welcoming facility.
Designs for the new and improved Durham Bus Station have been revealed as part of a public consultation which starts on Friday 17 January and runs until 10pm on Sunday 9 February.
Durham County Council is keen to hear what residents and commuters think of the plans, which will see the existing North Road station demolished and replaced with a modern and spacious transport hub.
Two drop-in sessions will be held in the Church Hall at North Road Methodist Church on Friday 17 January from 1pm to 6.30pm and Saturday 18 January from 10am to 2pm.
Attendees will have a chance to view the plans, which include a pedestrian concourse with lots of natural light and increased seating and easy to access route information. Toilets and baby changing facilities would also be enhanced and a two-storey mezzanine area with office space introduced. Visibility would also be improved at the exit of the bus station for the safety of pedestrians and bus drivers leaving the site.
Many of the design features are in response to feedback received from a consultation in 2019, when the council asked the public what they felt should be done to improve the facility.
One of the main priorities identified during the consultation was improved safety and reduced fear of crime. To address this, CCTV would be installed to monitor the entire concourse, while the introduction of a two-storey mezzanine overlooking the passenger waiting area would increase natural surveillance.
Along with the drop-in sessions, questionnaires will be available online from Friday and council officers will be visiting the bus station to talk to passengers about the plans and complete surveys during the consultation period.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Durham County Council, said: “We have listened to what residents told in previous consultations and think the new plans will appeal to residents and commuters alike. However, we are keen to find out what the public think.
“Ultimately, our aim is to create a modern and welcoming transport hub that fits the historic nature of Durham City and shows we are very much open for business. We want to provide residents with a safe and attractive space, while ensuring visitors to the city get the best first impression possible.
“High quality transport infrastructure is vital for a prosperous economy and a key factor for businesses considering investing in an area. Our plans for Durham Bus Station are part of a wider vision to improve transport links and enhance towns and villages across the county.”
Once the consultation closes, comments will be passed onto the designers and the design will be reviewed ahead of a final planning application being submitted.
If planning permission is approved, demolition of the existing bus station is expected to begin in late summer or early autumn before construction begins on the new facility in early 2021. During this period, all bus services will be moved on-street with stop locations and timetables advertised in advance.
It is anticipated the new bus station would be completed and open to the public in late 2021.
To take part in the consultation online, visit www.durham.gov.uk/consultation from Friday 17 January and comment by 10pm on Sunday 9 February.