10 October 2017
Green Party Councillor, Chris Musgrave, has welcomed a decision by the City Council to keep the bus station open, after developers pulled the plug on £100m redevelopment plans of the area.
Cllr Musgrave who spoke at an extraordinary full council meeting, at which the project was discussed, said:
“Labour’s dream of a privatised leisure centre is, quite frankly, turning into a nightmare. The disaster this redevelopment project has become shows that Exeter City Council is not a well-run council under Labour.
Consultation by the Council to date has been a sham so a commitment to fully consult the public over the future of the bus station site is welcome. We can only hope that Labour really mean it this time.
In the meantime, it’s good to see the council make a U-turn on buses. It would have been pointless to have a perfectly functional bus and coach station sitting empty for months."
Cllr Musgrave set out the case for an alternative vision for the site, which Greens have long called for. Their plans include a lower cost swimming pool built to the highest environmental standards, a covered modern market square and spaces for small local businesses, an open air multi-purpose recreational green space, genuinely affordable housing and a bus and coach station that is large enough to cope with future increases in passenger numbers, and which includes space for bike hire and mobility buggy hire.
Chris Musgrave said: “The plans for a bolt-on Princesshay 2 were always economically dubious, as were the ever-escalating costs of the leisure centre. I think Greens offer a far more creative vision for the bus station site; one that serves the people of Exeter rather than corporate profit.”
Cllr Musgrave also criticised Labour for a dismissive attitude towards potential traffic problems created by the redevelopment:
“It's unfortunate that the major traffic problems the bus and coach station closure will cause were dismissed by Labour as 'not ideal'. The city already has severe congestion and illegal levels of air pollution. Without a serious redesign of surrounding road space, particularly in the St James area, traffic will get worse and worse. Exeter desperately needs a transport system that moves people and not just cars."
Asked about the conduct of some Labour Councillors during the meeting, which was widely criticised on social media, Cllr Musgrave said:
"It's disappointing, as residents pointed out on social media, that some Councillors feel the need to act so disrespectfully to other Councillors, even when they are on camera. Successive misrepresentations and half-truths when making contributions to the debate shows us all that Labour have lost the argument."
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