U-turn on huge revamp of busy train station

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THE next two phases of an ambitious £3.3m bus and rail interchange planned for Chichester may be drastically scaled back.

The current scheme envisages building the interchange on the north forecourt of Chichester railway station, allowing people to quickly hop from train to bus or visa versa.

However, instead of the interchange, there is now a proposal to upgrade access and safety for pedestrians and cyclists at the railway station – and to improve bus shelters in the city centre.

A report by West Sussex County Council said the interchange design would not have the capacity for the increased numbers of buses travelling into the city.

A bid to scale back the scheme will be discussed at a county council transport meeting tomorrow before a decision is taken by deputy county council leader Lionel Barnard, who is in charge of transport.

The council report said: ‘The scheme was designed some years ago, when there were far fewer buses accessing the city centre using the current bus station and/or passing the rail station.

‘In addition, it has been recognised the majority of rail-users coming into Chichester walk to the city centre rather than using the bus, and that it is healthier to do so.’

Parts of the scheme that have already been completed include a new taxi rank, and the installation of new bike racks with shelters and CCTV on both sides of the railway crossing gates.

Two further phases were planned, including the construction of the interchange and a new access bridge.

So far a total of £776,000 has been spent on the improvements to the railway station.