Work is set to begin on Accrington’s new £6.4 million bus station next week with car park closures and building demolitions set to cause disruption.
The Crawshaw Street car park – the site of the new station - will be permanently closed off from Friday, January 30 with building work to start in the first week of February. Preparation works on surrounding streets have already been undertaken by utilities companies.
The former Lady Clitheroe Shop on Union Street will be demolished following surveys to create a walkway from the bus station to the town centre.
The station should be fully operational by March 2016.
The bus station relocation and compulsory purchase order was approved last year by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government following a two-day public inquiry last June.
Campaigners collected a 300-name petition against the scheme, claiming it would hit the town centre and parking.
Site owner Lancashire County Council (LCC) is now working with contractor Keepmoat. The first job will be to demolish the buildings and clear the site.
Chris Anslow, LCC’s public transport development manager, said: “We’ll be working closely with the contractor and businesses on Union Road and Blackburn Road to ensure arrangements are in place to give businesses access to the rear of their properties.”
A spokesman for Peter’s Jewellers, on Blackburn Road, said there is nothing more they can do to oppose the plans. He said: “It’s all decided and going through. The council are to blame. We are all being railroaded into this.”
The bus station is part of the £40m Pennine Reach Scheme to improve transport links between Hyndburn and Blackburn. Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said: “It’s a project that’s been worked on for eight years and the majority view was to choose Crawshaw Street. The Peel Street site was not of a size to accommodate the new station and ancillary facilities. You never get unanimity but any other location would be further away and cause more problems.”