Anger at plans for city centre bus hub

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Buses on Dale Street. Pic © Rohin Jalota JMU Journalism

Business owners have reacted furiously to plans to build a new city centre hub which could bring up to 120 buses an hour past their premises.

Liverpool City Council has submitted plans to build the bus hub in the Old Haymarket area, which links Dale Street and Victoria Street. The proposals are part of a £45million bid to change the way people move around the city.

Under the new scheme, the car park, currently on Old Haymarket, would be replaced by bus-only parking for up to 12 vehicles at a time. Merseytravel estimates up to 120 buses will pass through the hub every hour – two per minute.

For some local firms, the possibility of this has caused grave concern.

Gary O’Donnell of Mariners Wharf is the owner of the Excelsior pub on Dale Street and he believes that the bus hub will have a huge effect on his takings. He told JMU Journalism: “Nobody wants to sit in a pub, have a drink and listen to hundreds of buses going past do they? The idea is ridiculous. I am hopeful that if enough businesses are against the idea then the council will not go through with it, but if they do I’ll be gutted because it is sure to cost me customers.”

Vicky Morgan, co-owner of The Dead Crafty Beer Company on Dale Street, believes the hub will eventually force her to close. She told JMU Journalism: “If this goes ahead, I can’t see how our business can survive. It makes me so sad to think that this could all be taken away by one irresponsible decision.”

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Mrs Morgan was also highly critical of the council’s lack of information and discussion. She said: “We have opposed it, but in the beginning we weren’t even sent a consultation letter; we heard everything via word of mouth. I feel that they don’t want to hear our views as they’d have to address them.”

In a statement, the council said that the hub will save around 750,000 miles driven by buses on their current route each year, therefore saving 2,000 tons of CO2.

Currently, buses have to navigate through Dale Street and back along Victoria Street, and the chance to avoid this has been welcomed by Arriva bus driver, Sean Wilton.

The 32-year-old told JMU Journalism: “At the moment the route we have to take is stressful more than anything else. We have to go along Dale Street, Victoria Street and sometimes The Strand – probably town’s three busiest streets, especially during rush hour. So if I can avoid that in the future, happy days.”

Liverpool City Council and Merseytravel were both contacted by JMU Journalism, but declined to comment on the matter.

About Rohin Jalota, JMU Journalism