83 Hanley car park spaces to be used by buses that cannot fit into new multi-million pound station
EIGHTY-THREE city centre parking spaces are to be lost – to make way for buses which cannot fit into Hanley's new multi-million pound bus station.
Part of Hinde Street car park will be used as an overspill site for the new £15 million bus station, council documents have revealed.
The spaces will be lost to make room for 12 'lay-over' bays to be used as buses pause to change routes and drivers.
The plans come after Stoke-on-Trent City Council admitted revenue from pay-and-display car parking has dramatically fallen.
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Last year the authority fell short of its parking income target by £400,000, and the council is again predicting a shortfall of £359,000 this year.
A spokesman for the council said the fall in demand would enable it to lose the spaces on Hinde Street without creating a shortage of spaces.
The spokesman also explained that it would not be practical to develop 'lay-over' bays on the same site as the new bus station.
"Three car parks form the Hinde Street site, and it is proposed that the lay-overs will occupy only a small part of one of the sites," he said.
"The car park has 450 spaces, and there is still a good amount of capacity on the other car parks.
"Lay-over bays are needed to accommodate buses that are not due to go out for at least half an hour, and a separate site is needed for additional bays because the new bus station site has been designed to maximise the space available for buses that are needed for immediate journeys."
The plans have been cautiously welcomed by Doug Wardle, of the City Centre Partnership traders' group, which campaigns to increase the prosperity of the city centre.
Mr Wardle said: "We are not the only council in the country to be experiencing a drop in revenue from car parking.
"I've been to meetings throughout the area, and it's clearly a situation for other authorities too.
"But if councils and people concerned with the environment want to reduce the amount of cars on the road, and they get rid of these parking spaces to put buses there, then it can't be a bad thing.
"If the car park is not being fully utilised then there is no harm in it.
"However, if it is fully utilised then perhaps there could possibly be a contribution from the bus companies to use the lay-overs."
The plans are intended to be finalised in time for the opening of the new bus station, which is being built on the former John Street surface car park, in January.
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, the city council's cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said: "A planning application has been submitted, as part of a number of 'off-site' works necessary to deliver the new city centre bus station.
"The station has been designed to maximise the space available on John Street, providing 22 new bus stands and seven temporary lay-over bays.
"The stands have been carefully modelled to manage bus movements and demand, but it was identified very early on in the design process and through extensive consultation with existing operators, that supplementary lay-over bays would be needed.
"A small section of Hinde Street has been identified as the preferred location for the additional lay-over space, as it is very close to the new facility and has good access."
Other changes will be made to surrounding roads to accommodate the structure, including making Foundry Street, Lower Foundry Street and part of Trinity Street one-way to improve traffic circulation.