Bus boss raises safety fears over £400m Westgate plan

The Oxford Times: Worries: Martin Sutton, below, managing director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, has raised concerns for passenger safety and other issues over plans for Oxford’s Westgate development, above Worries: Martin Sutton, below, managing director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, has raised concerns for passenger safety and other issues over plans for Oxford’s Westgate development, above

ONE of Oxfordshire’s main bus operators has raised “significant concerns” about the £400m Westgate redevelopment in Oxford.

Stagecoach has said there are issues with the proposals which undermine the scheme and could have a negative impact on the whole of Oxford city centre.

As part of the development, Oxfordshire County Council and the Westgate Alliance want to pedestrianise Queen Street, meaning buses will have to travel down Castle Street around the shopping centre.

The company says it is generally supportive of the redevelopment and views the scheme as important for the city.

But in a letter to planning authority Oxford City Council, Martin Sutton, managing director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, expresses concerns about the scheme which has been put forward — citing passenger safety as one issue.

He said: “It (the company) is concerned about the detailed design of the Castle Street/ Norfolk Street and the new bus priority link.

“We have significant questions about safety, efficiency and availability of space for waiting passengers.

“These streets collectively are intended to act a vital movement corridor for buses, but equally are intended to be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

“We are concerned that the “shared space” design concept will lead to unnecessary conflicts and hazards and will, contrary to the intent of local and national policy, create problems for the safe and efficient operation of this proposed highway.”

Mr Sutton says the developer has not acknowledged the fact that the changes will increase journey times and lengths.

The Westgate Alliance, made up of landowners Land Securities and the Crown Estate, submitted a plan which some hope will end a decade of waiting for the shopping centre to be redeveloped.

Once completed in 2017 it will include a 10,000sq ft John Lewis store, as well as cafés, restaurants, shops and a cinema.

Plans to redevelop the Westgate Centre, which was built in 1972, were first put forward in 1999, but have been hit by numerous setbacks.

A decision on the planning application is expected to be made early next year, with construction work potentially starting later in 2014.

The Westgate Alliance said safety issues raised by Stagecoach were being addressed during the detailed design phase – during which the bus company would be “a key consultee.”

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:42am Tue 31 Dec 13

Myron Blatz says...

People in glass houses, Mr Sutton, shouldn't complain - especially since Stagecoach and Go-Ahead effectively operate a duopoly in Oxford, which includes both bus operators running buses every four minutes to Blackbird Leys (about 15 buses per hour each direction crowding roads) and an equally inexplicable combined service every eight minutes (around eight buses per hour) to Rose Hill council estate - which goes nowhere else when it reaches the Oval.
People in glass houses, Mr Sutton, shouldn't complain - especially since Stagecoach and Go-Ahead effectively operate a duopoly in Oxford, which includes both bus operators running buses every four minutes to Blackbird Leys (about 15 buses per hour each direction crowding roads) and an equally inexplicable combined service every eight minutes (around eight buses per hour) to Rose Hill council estate - which goes nowhere else when it reaches the Oval. Myron Blatz

9:20am Tue 31 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
People in glass houses, Mr Sutton, shouldn't complain - especially since Stagecoach and Go-Ahead effectively operate a duopoly in Oxford, which includes both bus operators running buses every four minutes to Blackbird Leys (about 15 buses per hour each direction crowding roads) and an equally inexplicable combined service every eight minutes (around eight buses per hour) to Rose Hill council estate - which goes nowhere else when it reaches the Oval.
The No1 & No5 buses are absolutely packed on the core element of their route (between St Aldates & the business park).

If the 8 buses an hour which reach the Oval then "go nowhere" as you state - every week over 1000 buses would be abandoned there. I've been to Rose Hill, there is definitely no bus scrapyard there.

The only way to get buses off the road in this city is to build an integrated light-rail, tram or underground network. Which isn't going to happen as it is beyond the capability of our elected representatives.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: People in glass houses, Mr Sutton, shouldn't complain - especially since Stagecoach and Go-Ahead effectively operate a duopoly in Oxford, which includes both bus operators running buses every four minutes to Blackbird Leys (about 15 buses per hour each direction crowding roads) and an equally inexplicable combined service every eight minutes (around eight buses per hour) to Rose Hill council estate - which goes nowhere else when it reaches the Oval.[/p][/quote]The No1 & No5 buses are absolutely packed on the core element of their route (between St Aldates & the business park). If the 8 buses an hour which reach the Oval then "go nowhere" as you state - every week over 1000 buses would be abandoned there. I've been to Rose Hill, there is definitely no bus scrapyard there. The only way to get buses off the road in this city is to build an integrated light-rail, tram or underground network. Which isn't going to happen as it is beyond the capability of our elected representatives. Andrew:Oxford

10:32am Tue 31 Dec 13

King Joke says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
People in glass houses, Mr Sutton, shouldn't complain - especially since Stagecoach and Go-Ahead effectively operate a duopoly in Oxford, which includes both bus operators running buses every four minutes to Blackbird Leys (about 15 buses per hour each direction crowding roads) and an equally inexplicable combined service every eight minutes (around eight buses per hour) to Rose Hill council estate - which goes nowhere else when it reaches the Oval.
All the services you cite, Nos 1, 3 and 5, are well loaded Myron. What alternative do you propose? If even just half the passengers on these buses decided to drive instead the roads would be a bloody sight more crowded I can tell you.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: People in glass houses, Mr Sutton, shouldn't complain - especially since Stagecoach and Go-Ahead effectively operate a duopoly in Oxford, which includes both bus operators running buses every four minutes to Blackbird Leys (about 15 buses per hour each direction crowding roads) and an equally inexplicable combined service every eight minutes (around eight buses per hour) to Rose Hill council estate - which goes nowhere else when it reaches the Oval.[/p][/quote]All the services you cite, Nos 1, 3 and 5, are well loaded Myron. What alternative do you propose? If even just half the passengers on these buses decided to drive instead the roads would be a bloody sight more crowded I can tell you. King Joke

2:57pm Tue 31 Dec 13

TiarasOceanView says...

Please don't rip up cobblestones when you build the new mall...Buses will figure a way round it all, no worries.
Please don't rip up cobblestones when you build the new mall...Buses will figure a way round it all, no worries. TiarasOceanView

5:44pm Tue 31 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

TiarasOceanView wrote:
Please don't rip up cobblestones when you build the new mall...Buses will figure a way round it all, no worries.
Which cobblestones do you mean? I can't think of any within the footprint of the new centre.

The only cobblestones that have "disappeared" in recent years are those on and around Quaking Bridge. They were covered in tarmac about 8 years ago following a complaint from a mobility scooter user who was fearful about being thrown from the scooter with the undulations.
[quote][p][bold]TiarasOceanView[/bold] wrote: Please don't rip up cobblestones when you build the new mall...Buses will figure a way round it all, no worries.[/p][/quote]Which cobblestones do you mean? I can't think of any within the footprint of the new centre. The only cobblestones that have "disappeared" in recent years are those on and around Quaking Bridge. They were covered in tarmac about 8 years ago following a complaint from a mobility scooter user who was fearful about being thrown from the scooter with the undulations. Andrew:Oxford

6:19pm Tue 31 Dec 13

TiarasOceanView says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
TiarasOceanView wrote:
Please don't rip up cobblestones when you build the new mall...Buses will figure a way round it all, no worries.
Which cobblestones do you mean? I can't think of any within the footprint of the new centre.

The only cobblestones that have "disappeared" in recent years are those on and around Quaking Bridge. They were covered in tarmac about 8 years ago following a complaint from a mobility scooter user who was fearful about being thrown from the scooter with the undulations.
My memory of Oxford involves cobblestones all about, none in specific Andrew...Just being sentimental is all.
I hope the new mall will serve the peoples interest well. Myself, I am trapped in the past.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]TiarasOceanView[/bold] wrote: Please don't rip up cobblestones when you build the new mall...Buses will figure a way round it all, no worries.[/p][/quote]Which cobblestones do you mean? I can't think of any within the footprint of the new centre. The only cobblestones that have "disappeared" in recent years are those on and around Quaking Bridge. They were covered in tarmac about 8 years ago following a complaint from a mobility scooter user who was fearful about being thrown from the scooter with the undulations.[/p][/quote]My memory of Oxford involves cobblestones all about, none in specific Andrew...Just being sentimental is all. I hope the new mall will serve the peoples interest well. Myself, I am trapped in the past. TiarasOceanView

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree