The number of disabled parking spaces at Wrexham bus station could soon be reduced despite concerns about the impact this will have on users.
In a report due before Wrexham Council’s planning committee next week permission is being sought to reduce the number of bays at the Trinity Street side of the station from five to four.
The spaces, near the northern entrance to the bus station were allocated for disabled parking in 2016 after plans to convert the former Oriel Wrecsam into a small town centre police station were approved.
As part of the redevelopment of the former gallery, eight dedicated disabled parking spaces on Rhosddu Road (situated at the rear of Wrexham Library) were removed. At the time the loss of the spaces came under fire from AVOW and members of the public, with hundreds of people signing a petition opposing the closure of the car park.
In early 2016 plans to redevelop the Oriel Wrecsam were given the go ahead after going before the planning committee three times. As part of the revised plans it was agreed that additional parking spaces would be provided in the Library Car Park and five near Shopmobility in the bus station.
The Rhosddu Road Car Park closed in 2017 to allow work to begin on the new police station.
However it has now been proposed that the number of spaces are reduced from five to four due to “interference with the turning of buses’ when the disabled parking bay nearest Trinity Street is occupied. This, the report continues onto say, “is not considered acceptable to the operation of the bus station.”
The plans have been met with objection from the local community council, who argues that the number of spaces should be retained and moved closer to the King Street side of the site to keep clear of the bus turning circle or to reduce the width of the spaces.
Similar complaints have been submitted by local residents who say the ongoing issue of non-disabled people parking in the bays is compounding the problem of shortage of spaces and ask why should this problem be to the detriment of disabled people.
It is also noted that AVOW have video evidence that shows that buses can navigate with the five spaces marked out and that the only problem occurs when buses park in non-designated bays.
In his report the head of environment and planning says he has “sought confirmation from the council’s public transport section on this matter and I am satisfied that there does appear to be an operational safety concern”.
He continues onto say: “Buses use the site to pick up passengers in service from the designated stands, however there are often occasions when buses ‘lay over’ – that is to say where buses wait between timetabled services.
“It appears that problems occur at busy periods when there are a larger number of waiting buses, especially in close proximity to the newly marked out mobility spaces in question.
“The main issue to consider is whether the reduction of the mobility standard spaces in this location will be detrimental to town centre users and would this issue outweigh the benefits of ensuring the safe operation of the bus station and ultimately the overall provision of the town centre police station?
“The newly marked out spaces do not form part of the adopted highway, therefore the designated spaces are not enforced under normal highway parking restriction regulations.
“The spaces are also not designated for any particular town centre service user, but are open for general public access i.e. users that parked are not tied to use a particular service.”
The report adds: “I am satisfied that the loss of one mobility standard space in this location would not be detrimental to town centre users as a whole. There are sufficient on street spaces in close proximity to the area in question to serve users of this part of the town centre.
“The desired retention of this one space does not outweigh the operational safety concerns noted by the bus station operators and the overall provision of a town centre police station to which this overall proposal relates.”
The application will be debated by planning committee members at 4pm on Monday October 1st. The meeting will also be webcast live on the Wrexham Council website.