Dudley bus station revamp gets support despite safety concerns

Controversial proposals to re-develop Dudley Bus Station look to have won support from council bosses, potentially removing a major obstacle to the scheme going ahead.

Dudley Council's development boss Councillor Ian Kettle said he was 'satisfied' with the scheme after seeing the plans in greater detail.

Concerns about safety had been raised by cabinet colleague Councillor David Stanley, raising the possibility the council could block the scheme or ask for significant changes. However, the way now looks to be clear for the project, brought by Transport for West Midlands, to move forward.

Under the plans, buses will reverse in and out of bays at the revamped station, which had led to concerns pedestrian safety could be put at risk. But Councillor Kettle insisted changes to the layout would mean passengers would not walk out in front of buses.

The long-awaited revamp of the town's bus station is expected to go ahead as part of the Midland Metro extension into the town - part of major changes over the next decade announced by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street last week. 

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has indicated it is ready to put £400,000 towards the scheme likely to cost more than £1 million. Councillor Kettle told the Express & Star:

"It is a different format but it has been used elsewhere. David Stanley has been quite vociferous about the manner of buses reversing out but now passengers won't be able to walk between buses, they will have to go round the proper way.

"I think it will be a great addition. I know David had reservations but now I have seen the plans I understand where they are coming from.

"There is going to be a lot changing in Dudley and a lot of money is going into it. It will be the first time in generations there has been significant investment."

Buses at the new-look station would park next to each other while passengers wait in an departure lounge. Drivers would then reverse from the stand before continuing on their journey.

Despite Councillor Kettle's praise for the bus station plans, Labour's Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, who was previously development boss at the council when it was run by Labour has requested a meeting over the plans.

An upgrade for the town’s bus station was first mooted three years ago but a lack of funds and a desire to link bus services with the extended Midland Metro has held the project up.

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