Hopes of creating a new Diesel Alley for buses underneath the canopy next to the railway station have been quashed and are out of the question for the time being.
As work and consultation continues on the Terminus Road Improvement Scheme, various organisations recently quizzed both the borough and county council as to why the area in Ashford Road could not be used to create a new area for buses to stop instead of the preferred option of moving Diesel Alley round the corner into Cornfield Road.
Town planners said this week there were a number of issues as to why the canopy, or shed as it is known in the railway industry, was not being suggested as an alternative to retaining buses in Terminus Road including the fact it is owned by Network Rail and managed by Southern Railway so would need both organisations’ agreement to purchase/use the land within it.
A spokesperson at Eastbourne Borough Council said, “The land will have a value to them and they will want some recompense to allow alternative use and the loss to them of its current use. The shed is not currently available as it is used for the operation of the railway by Southern Railway most notably for the bus replacement service when the trains are not operating.
“It is also used for staff car parking and as a coach parking facility. It may be possible to find alternatives sites for these uses but there is no current solution that is on the horizon.
“The shed is not of sufficient size to accommodate all the bus stops so the majority would remain outside on Ashford Road.
“The shape of the site under the shed canopy is not ideal for buses and further detailed work is needed to check if they can operate in the space available.”
The spokesperson also said there would be increased journey times and congestion for the bus companies to deal with as a result of buses leaving Terminus Road to use the shed area and then coming back onto Terminus Road to continue their journey.
This movement will also add to the cost of bus operations in the use of more fuel.
He added, “The route of the bus services once they leave the shed area will need to be agreed. If buses are not going to use Terminus Road then alternative streets and bus stops need to be found that will achieve the greatest consensus with the local residents, businesses and stakeholders including the bus operators.
“In summary there is some doubt that the site has any realistic chance of delivery. With so many issues needing to be worked through and with no control on the time frames this option has been discounted for the immediate future.”
The preferred option at present is for all the bus stops to be relocated to Cornfield Road.