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Town faces transport revolution

REVOLUTIONARY plans to create a state-of-the-art linked rail and bus station in Accrington town centre have been revealed.

REVOLUTIONARY plans to create a state-of-the-art linked rail and bus station in Accrington town centre have been revealed.

Lancashire County Council hopes to build a brand-new railway station in the town and connect it to the proposed new indoor bus terminal in nearby Union Street.

The latest plans were announced less than three months after designs for the ultra-modern bus station were unveiled, and work on the joint scheme could be finished as early as 2007.

It could cost as much as £4M but the finance is available.

The county has already allocated £150,000 to develop the designs and the next stage would be to carry out a detailed consultation and apply for planning permission.

If the project gets the go-ahead, the development would boast:

  • Improved links between the bus terminal and railway station, with better pedestrian crossings, signs, lighting and CCTV.
  • Ticket offices, shops, cafes, public toilets and newsagents within the 14-stand bus station concourse.
  • Staff on site during bus operating times to improve passenger safety.

The news was immediately welcomed by Hyndburn county councillor Wendy Dwyer, who said: "The railway station clearly needs to be improved - at the moment it hasn't even got a decent shelter - and linking it with the bus station would make it better for everyone."

County Councillor Jean Yates, portfolio holder for transportation, said the new railway station would be built on the existing site and officers were hoping to work closely with the rail operators in developing it.

She said: "We want to develop an interchange based on those in other towns, where the bus and railway stations are very near to each other."

"Lots of people come in on the bus before catching a train, and it is no good if they have to trudge half-way across the town to do it."

"The bus station will be a well-lit, modern facility that will be unique to Accrington and it will be designed so that it suits the town. Whatever we do, it will be at the cutting edge of whatever technology is available to us."

County Councillor Yates added that serious consultations would be carried out with traders and businesses in the area affected by the development before final decisions were made.

Meetings have already been held with agencies such as the East Lancashire Partnership and Elevate East Lancashire for their input into the plans.

County Councillor Jean Battle, who also leads Hyndburn Council's Labour group, said it was important to take into account the views of traders on Peel Street, who have raised fears that moving the bus station away from that part of town could affect their businesses.

As revealed exclusively in the Observer earlier this year, the bus station is planned for land bordered by Union Street, Edgar Street and School Street, currently used as a three-hour-stay disc car park with nearly 100 spaces.

Some surrounding buildings would have to be bought and demolished before work could begin.


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