Accrington’s new £6.4 million ‘George Slynn’ bus station has been officially opened.
Councillors past and present joined with dignitaries and relatives of George Slynn to commemorate the opening of the long awaited transport terminal on Crawshaw Street.
Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson said he was delighted that the town can now boast a ‘fit for purpose’ station.
He said: “We had some senior councillors from a number of years who are no longer on the council and can remember the long wish to have a proper bus station within the town. We would’ve liked to have had lovely summer weather but it was a day of heavy rain.
“However it makes the point that people previously had to queue in the wet and windy weather under a shelter which didn’t give them much protection.
“Now we have a modern purpose-built bus station in the heart of the town to bring people in.”
The station, which began operating yesterday, is open seven days a week and the facilities include free wi-fi, information desks, public toilets, bus and train timetable displays, interactive journey planners and support for the deaf or visually impaired.
Coun Parkinson said the station is the first piece of a ‘multi-million pound’ jigsaw of investment for the town centre over the next two years.
He said: “Shortly the new police station will be opening on Broadway, we will then be moving forward with public realm works along Blackburn Road and Peel Street an engaging with businesses and stakeholders in the area to come up with the final plans for the dedication of a square to the Accrington Pals.
“This is one part of a multi-million investment in the town and we will continue investing in the next 28 months.
“Of course we can’t provide everything and it’s up to residents where they chose to shop and chose to go and spend their money but we are doing our utmost to work with all the key stakeholders.”
The bus station was named in memory of former Great Harwood councillor and transport campaigner George Slynn.
Coun Parkinson said: “George’s brother Jimmy and his wife Denise were there which was very poignant.
"Being a non-motor vehicle driver George travelled extensively by public transport and it’s only fitting that the bus station which he long wanted for the town is named after him.”
The new bus station is part of the £40 million Pennine Reach public transport scheme which aims to improve transport links between Accrington and Blackburn.
County Councillor John Fillis said: "Accrington's new bus station will make a real difference to the town, offering passengers a comfortable place to wait for their bus and, with the train station being much closer, making it much quicker for people to switch modes as they travel across the area.
"The new bus stations in Accrington and Blackburn, combined with the numerous improvements to bus shelters and traffic signal junctions along the Pennine Reach corridor represent a vastly enhanced public transport network for the wider Hyndburn and Blackburn with Darwen areas.
"The introduction of new bus lanes, bus priority measures, and all the fantastic technology that can be seen inside both Blackburn and Accrington Bus Stations really has brought the bus network in this area into the 21 Century.
"The overall aim of Pennine Reach is to help kick start the regeneration of these East Lancashire towns and already that can be seen in both Accrington and Blackburn with heritage initiatives aiming to improve large areas of the town centres.
"This creates the conditions to attract further commercial investment to really transform the area and people's opportunities.
"Whilst the bus stations are the most visible aspect of the Pennine Reach project, the wide range of investments which have resulted from the scheme really do make this a far reaching project which will benefit East Lancashire for many years to come."