Pensioners' well-being fears following Welwyn Garden City bus station work
PUBLISHED: 13:46 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:46 02 November 2017
Bus users have questioned whether £1million regeneration work at Welwyn Garden City bus station is really necessary, and they have also complained about the locations and lack of adequate shelter at temporary bus stops.
Many of the elderly bus users are struggling to walk to the temporary bus stops in the town, and they fear there is not enough shelter for people as temperatures plummet.
Major regeneration work started at Welwyn Garden City bus station on Monday, October 9, and will take 22 weeks to complete.
The bus station is shut for the duration of the works and temporary bus stops have been provided outside John Lewis, as well as outside Waitrose and across the road from Waitrose in Bridge Road.
One 72-year-old Welwyn Garden City man said: “I have a bad hip so doing that extra walk to these temporary stops, including up and down a hill isn’t good for me.
“When you’re carrying heavy shopping in one hand and your walking stick in another, it’s very difficult as it is.
“There is hardly any shelter in these temporary stops and it’s only getting colder.
“A lot of us are very worried about not being protected well enough from the rain and winds during the winter while waiting for our buses.”
The man added: “This work isn’t even needed.
“Don’t mess with something that doesn’t need to be fixed.
“I’ve walked past the bus shelter many times and there are no workers there so no wonder it’s going to take them 22 weeks.”
Barbara Simpson, 89, of Walden Road, regularly gets the 300 Arriva bus into the town centre and gets off at the stop next to Sainsbury’s in Church Road but says since the work has started buses no longer stop there.
Barbara said: “I now have to walk all the way over to the one by John Lewis and when carrying shopping that is a long walk with my bad knee.
“Visiting the town centre is no longer a pleasure.
“The new plans mean bus drivers are going to have to reverse into their allocated spaces, but surely this is going to be dangerous for passengers and for the drivers?”
Claire Graines, 36, of Hatfield, gets the 653 Uno service most days to get to work in WGC.
She said: “The elderly are struggling with having to walk all the way over to Waitrose and then down and up a hill.
“It’s also very dark around that area and it’s quite creepy to wait for your bus down there in the darkness.”
A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire County Council said: “These temporary bus stops have been located so that they are within close walking distance of the existing station, situated at locations which can safely accommodate the additional number of buses, and require minimum diversions to all the existing bus routes.
“While it is recognised that there is a slight gradient to access one of the stops opposite Waitrose, this is within current standards and the only site which meets all the above criteria.
“Due to the nature of the works taking place, there will be the odd occasion where the public will not see a presence of workers on the site.
“However, this will have no effect on the overall length of the construction programme.”
The aim of the project is to create a more “operationally sound” bus interchange, a new bespoke bus shelter, installation of new block paving and kerbing, new pavement construction in the bus station, new street lighting installation, resurfacing of Osborn Way, and new street furniture and landscaping.