Durham bus station plans horrible and totally inappropriate - MP

The Advertiser Series: An artist's impression of the new Durham bus station, seen from the viaduct area An artist's impression of the new Durham bus station, seen from the viaduct area

DURHAM’S MP has slammed multi-million pound plans for a new city bus station, calling them horrible and totally inappropriate.

Roberta Blackman-Woods said Durham County Council’s £6.2m scheme would detract from the city’s historic nature and demanded planners go back to the drawing board.

“They haven’t even given a nod to the environment. It’s a case of any old thing will do.

“They should have learned their lessons from the Market Place, which has been such a disaster.

“They need to think again. They’ve got to do better.”

Dr Blackman-Woods was speaking as the plans were publicly displayed for the first time today (Thursday, May 1).

The existing North Road roundabout would be replaced with a through road and junction and new bus station would be built on the site of Hopper House, which would be demolished.

North Road would be diverted behind North Road Methodist Church, joining the A690 near Atherton Street. The stretch cut out would then become a pedestrianised area, possibly for hosting events. The current bus station would be demolished to make way for a new flagship store, which it is hoped would support the wider regeneration of North Road, and eventually further redevelopment could take place on the other side of the street.

Dr Blackman-Woods said visitors arriving in Durham by rail would be greeted by buses’ back ends, detracting from the historic viaduct area, and a “horrible” bus station which would be “totally inappropriate for a historic city”.

The MP said she was not convinced Durham needed a new bus station and plans to call a public meeting to discuss the project and controversial plans to build student digs on the nearby former County Hospital site.

Supporters of the proposals say they would improve the area for buses, other traffic and pedestrians.

The plans went on display in the vacant former Blockbuster video shop on North Road today (Thursday, May 1).

The exhibition will continue tomorrow from noon to 6pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm. To comment, call 03000-262-047 or email: northroad@durham.gov.uk It is hoped the project will be completed by late 2015 or early 2016.

Comments (18)

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9:30pm Thu 1 May 14

Voice-of-reality says...

If they put it next to the university's horrible new HQ building it would be 'quite in keeping'. Both represent architectural crimes against Durham
If they put it next to the university's horrible new HQ building it would be 'quite in keeping'. Both represent architectural crimes against Durham Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 5

9:09am Fri 2 May 14

David Lacey says...

I quite like the idea regarding the pedestrianisation of North Road. As for the design of the bus station, sometimes ultra modern can complement the old architecture - see new building at Kings Cross. Frankly almost anything would improve the disaster that is North Road.
I quite like the idea regarding the pedestrianisation of North Road. As for the design of the bus station, sometimes ultra modern can complement the old architecture - see new building at Kings Cross. Frankly almost anything would improve the disaster that is North Road. David Lacey
  • Score: 19

9:17am Fri 2 May 14

berty121023 says...

Why our Durham residents so anti-progress? You could have a great city yet oppose anything that could possibly improve the city. North Road is an abomination, the council should be congratulated for finally making progress to drag the town/city into the 21st Century. As for the University's Palatine Centre, it adds to the architecture of Durham rather than detracts.

I agree with David Lacey, Kings Cross is a terrific juxtaposition of old and modern, a credit to the city.
Why our Durham residents so anti-progress? You could have a great city yet oppose anything that could possibly improve the city. North Road is an abomination, the council should be congratulated for finally making progress to drag the town/city into the 21st Century. As for the University's Palatine Centre, it adds to the architecture of Durham rather than detracts. I agree with David Lacey, Kings Cross is a terrific juxtaposition of old and modern, a credit to the city. berty121023
  • Score: 18

9:32am Fri 2 May 14

Voice-of-reality says...

I would also agree that the King's Cross development is wonderful. The pedestrianisation of North Road is also to be welcomed. I am not convinced by either the design of the bus station or the wider need for it.
I would also agree that the King's Cross development is wonderful. The pedestrianisation of North Road is also to be welcomed. I am not convinced by either the design of the bus station or the wider need for it. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 4

9:37am Fri 2 May 14

DURHAM CITY says...

It would be impossible for North Road to look any worse than it does already its an embarrassment any new addition can only improve it
It would be impossible for North Road to look any worse than it does already its an embarrassment any new addition can only improve it DURHAM CITY
  • Score: 11

10:19am Fri 2 May 14

reasoned view says...

Seems okay to me, unlike Milburngate house and the students union buildings which were approved to be built in the 60s. The MP doesn't overlook the developement by chance does she? Would make her a bit more pro active me thinks!
Seems okay to me, unlike Milburngate house and the students union buildings which were approved to be built in the 60s. The MP doesn't overlook the developement by chance does she? Would make her a bit more pro active me thinks! reasoned view
  • Score: 9

11:19am Fri 2 May 14

Durhamite1979 says...

reasoned view wrote:
Seems okay to me, unlike Milburngate house and the students union buildings which were approved to be built in the 60s. The MP doesn't overlook the developement by chance does she? Would make her a bit more pro active me thinks!
I didn't think MPs liked to live in their constituencies - too close to their people don't you know...
[quote][p][bold]reasoned view[/bold] wrote: Seems okay to me, unlike Milburngate house and the students union buildings which were approved to be built in the 60s. The MP doesn't overlook the developement by chance does she? Would make her a bit more pro active me thinks![/p][/quote]I didn't think MPs liked to live in their constituencies - too close to their people don't you know... Durhamite1979
  • Score: 4

6:49pm Fri 2 May 14

Nicholas_Till says...

The proposals don't strike me as being as dreadful as the Market Place revamp, and I do agree that there should be pedestrian crossings with lights over the A690, as a priority. The existing crossing points are definitely difficult and dangerous for the elderly, the disabled and the encumbered, and maybe those who are none of these but don't know the place. I gather that pedestrian request lights need not hold up the traffic unduly - all to the good, as the traffic lights on the 690 can hold up the traffic appreciably as it is. NB - I applaud the many motorists who halt at these crossings to let pedestrians cross.

However, I don't see the need for a new bus station. The existing one seems to me to work very well as it is, and buses per day seem to be decreasing rather than increasing in number. North Road, whatever else one might say about it, isn't a traffic or pedestrian nightmare; buses and whatever else normally move quite slowly, are not congested, and are in a position to stop well in time to avoid a pedestrian or other vehicle making some unexpected move. Maybe I've missed something, but that's how it seems to me!
The proposals don't strike me as being as dreadful as the Market Place revamp, and I do agree that there should be pedestrian crossings with lights over the A690, as a priority. The existing crossing points are definitely difficult and dangerous for the elderly, the disabled and the encumbered, and maybe those who are none of these but don't know the place. I gather that pedestrian request lights need not hold up the traffic unduly - all to the good, as the traffic lights on the 690 can hold up the traffic appreciably as it is. NB - I applaud the many motorists who halt at these crossings to let pedestrians cross. However, I don't see the need for a new bus station. The existing one seems to me to work very well as it is, and buses per day seem to be decreasing rather than increasing in number. North Road, whatever else one might say about it, isn't a traffic or pedestrian nightmare; buses and whatever else normally move quite slowly, are not congested, and are in a position to stop well in time to avoid a pedestrian or other vehicle making some unexpected move. Maybe I've missed something, but that's how it seems to me! Nicholas_Till
  • Score: 2

7:36pm Fri 2 May 14

Steve B. Durham says...

Horrible and totally inappropriate are strange words to describe a major public facility for any large town or city. I know when I have visited a new town, the site of a busy bus station next to the railway is a relief, especially for those like me who rely a lot on public transport. Even better would be an interchange but rather difficult for Durham. As for being greeted by the back end of a bus. Any site of the bus I need is welcome, especially if there is a pleasant row of trees to offer some greenery. Certainly better than the weeds growing in the present bus stations gutters. Full marks to the council and architects for this planned development. Let's hope it doesn't take 30 years to build. Some of us have a bus to catch.
Horrible and totally inappropriate are strange words to describe a major public facility for any large town or city. I know when I have visited a new town, the site of a busy bus station next to the railway is a relief, especially for those like me who rely a lot on public transport. Even better would be an interchange but rather difficult for Durham. As for being greeted by the back end of a bus. Any site of the bus I need is welcome, especially if there is a pleasant row of trees to offer some greenery. Certainly better than the weeds growing in the present bus stations gutters. Full marks to the council and architects for this planned development. Let's hope it doesn't take 30 years to build. Some of us have a bus to catch. Steve B. Durham
  • Score: 7

2:10pm Sat 3 May 14

Chippy70 says...

Study that impression of the new bus station! If buses enter through that road just off the new straight through junction in stead of a roundabout then surely buses approaching from the South i.e. Nevilles Cross, Langley Moor, Brandon, Meadowfield, Willington and Crook are going to need to cross the road at some point .....very dangerous methinks.. Oh and it appears that buses will still have to reverse back from the loading bays directly into buses entering the station (as they do now) I thought I read somewhere that it was going to be a "drive through". Station.
Study that impression of the new bus station! If buses enter through that road just off the new straight through junction in stead of a roundabout then surely buses approaching from the South i.e. Nevilles Cross, Langley Moor, Brandon, Meadowfield, Willington and Crook are going to need to cross the road at some point .....very dangerous methinks.. Oh and it appears that buses will still have to reverse back from the loading bays directly into buses entering the station (as they do now) I thought I read somewhere that it was going to be a "drive through". Station. Chippy70
  • Score: -3

2:51pm Sat 3 May 14

bishop1 says...

what exactly does this have to do with Bishop Auckland ?
what exactly does this have to do with Bishop Auckland ? bishop1
  • Score: -5

8:49am Sun 4 May 14

Chippy70 says...

Chippy70 wrote:
Study that impression of the new bus station! If buses enter through that road just off the new straight through junction in stead of a roundabout then surely buses approaching from the South i.e. Nevilles Cross, Langley Moor, Brandon, Meadowfield, Willington and Crook are going to need to cross the road at some point .....very dangerous methinks.. Oh and it appears that buses will still have to reverse back from the loading bays directly into buses entering the station (as they do now) I thought I read somewhere that it was going to be a "drive through". Station.
I am wondering why the thumbs down? I am not condeming anything! I am just expressing curiosity.
[quote][p][bold]Chippy70[/bold] wrote: Study that impression of the new bus station! If buses enter through that road just off the new straight through junction in stead of a roundabout then surely buses approaching from the South i.e. Nevilles Cross, Langley Moor, Brandon, Meadowfield, Willington and Crook are going to need to cross the road at some point .....very dangerous methinks.. Oh and it appears that buses will still have to reverse back from the loading bays directly into buses entering the station (as they do now) I thought I read somewhere that it was going to be a "drive through". Station.[/p][/quote]I am wondering why the thumbs down? I am not condeming anything! I am just expressing curiosity. Chippy70
  • Score: 1

11:16pm Sun 4 May 14

Longbowman666 says...

berty121023 wrote:
Why our Durham residents so anti-progress? You could have a great city yet oppose anything that could possibly improve the city. North Road is an abomination, the council should be congratulated for finally making progress to drag the town/city into the 21st Century. As for the University's Palatine Centre, it adds to the architecture of Durham rather than detracts.

I agree with David Lacey, Kings Cross is a terrific juxtaposition of old and modern, a credit to the city.
Many people are not anti-progress, but rather they would like to see buildings that are in keeping with the area in which they exist. The Palatine building is, quite frankly, one of the most hideous pieces of modern architecture I have ever been unfortunate to view. How exactly does it add to the architecture of Durham by being an eyesore to those who live close to it?

Modern buildings yes, but not at the cost of such buildings being completely out of odds with those that surround it, or of being, as a certain Prince of the Realm remarked, 'a carbuncle'
[quote][p][bold]berty121023[/bold] wrote: Why our Durham residents so anti-progress? You could have a great city yet oppose anything that could possibly improve the city. North Road is an abomination, the council should be congratulated for finally making progress to drag the town/city into the 21st Century. As for the University's Palatine Centre, it adds to the architecture of Durham rather than detracts. I agree with David Lacey, Kings Cross is a terrific juxtaposition of old and modern, a credit to the city.[/p][/quote]Many people are not anti-progress, but rather they would like to see buildings that are in keeping with the area in which they exist. The Palatine building is, quite frankly, one of the most hideous pieces of modern architecture I have ever been unfortunate to view. How exactly does it add to the architecture of Durham by being an eyesore to those who live close to it? Modern buildings yes, but not at the cost of such buildings being completely out of odds with those that surround it, or of being, as a certain Prince of the Realm remarked, 'a carbuncle' Longbowman666
  • Score: -2

10:29pm Tue 6 May 14

bishop1 says...

so what has this got to do with bishop auckland ? surely it would be better in the durham section .
so what has this got to do with bishop auckland ? surely it would be better in the durham section . bishop1
  • Score: -3

10:45pm Tue 6 May 14

Chippy70 says...

bishop1 wrote:
so what has this got to do with bishop auckland ? surely it would be better in the durham section .
What on earth are you on about?
[quote][p][bold]bishop1[/bold] wrote: so what has this got to do with bishop auckland ? surely it would be better in the durham section .[/p][/quote]What on earth are you on about? Chippy70
  • Score: 0

9:41pm Wed 7 May 14

tomtopper says...

berty121023 wrote:
Why our Durham residents so anti-progress? You could have a great city yet oppose anything that could possibly improve the city. North Road is an abomination, the council should be congratulated for finally making progress to drag the town/city into the 21st Century. As for the University's Palatine Centre, it adds to the architecture of Durham rather than detracts.

I agree with David Lacey, Kings Cross is a terrific juxtaposition of old and modern, a credit to the city.
You shouldn't be 'progressive' in a historic city (what's left of it, that is) and world heritage site.. simple as that..

It's your type of thinking that has led to the current North road looking as it is.. When developed all those years ago the ignorant would have been saying the same..."lets finally bring North road into the 20th century" Now look at it, along with the passport offices etc.. An eyesore, which is what the gala area, bishops car park, palantine, millenium bridge etc will all be in 25-30 years time..

It's sad that a city which has been gifted with such a prominent cathedral & castle is raped of its historic feel directly on the periphery in the name of 'progress'
[quote][p][bold]berty121023[/bold] wrote: Why our Durham residents so anti-progress? You could have a great city yet oppose anything that could possibly improve the city. North Road is an abomination, the council should be congratulated for finally making progress to drag the town/city into the 21st Century. As for the University's Palatine Centre, it adds to the architecture of Durham rather than detracts. I agree with David Lacey, Kings Cross is a terrific juxtaposition of old and modern, a credit to the city.[/p][/quote]You shouldn't be 'progressive' in a historic city (what's left of it, that is) and world heritage site.. simple as that.. It's your type of thinking that has led to the current North road looking as it is.. When developed all those years ago the ignorant would have been saying the same..."lets finally bring North road into the 20th century" Now look at it, along with the passport offices etc.. An eyesore, which is what the gala area, bishops car park, palantine, millenium bridge etc will all be in 25-30 years time.. It's sad that a city which has been gifted with such a prominent cathedral & castle is raped of its historic feel directly on the periphery in the name of 'progress' tomtopper
  • Score: 3

4:28pm Thu 8 May 14

DurhamExplorer says...

The current design is a disgrace. However, today I attempted to visit the public consultation display only to find it completely closed (yet I visited within the opening hours), now that's disgraceful.
The current design is a disgrace. However, today I attempted to visit the public consultation display only to find it completely closed (yet I visited within the opening hours), now that's disgraceful. DurhamExplorer
  • Score: 2

1:47am Mon 19 May 14

timmy85 says...

I'm all for development and appreciate that something needs to be done to North Road. But, you can't really polish a turd. The Bus Station has only recently been updated and refurbished already, but unfortunately, it's simply not maintained, and this seems to be the case for most of Durham. If the Council want to promote Durham as a historic City, they need to think about the businesses that are situated on North Road - charity shops, pound shops, public houses - not exactly screaming 'historic City'. They would want to push for boutique shops selling niche products - unfortunately, the daily visitors to Durham are out of town, village-people who simply want cheap products and alcohol. I would suggest refurbishing the residents of Durham instead.
I'm all for development and appreciate that something needs to be done to North Road. But, you can't really polish a turd. The Bus Station has only recently been updated and refurbished already, but unfortunately, it's simply not maintained, and this seems to be the case for most of Durham. If the Council want to promote Durham as a historic City, they need to think about the businesses that are situated on North Road - charity shops, pound shops, public houses - not exactly screaming 'historic City'. They would want to push for boutique shops selling niche products - unfortunately, the daily visitors to Durham are out of town, village-people who simply want cheap products and alcohol. I would suggest refurbishing the residents of Durham instead. timmy85
  • Score: 2

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