CONTROVERSIAL plans to scrap Gosport’s bus station for a multi-million pound waterfront development have been defended by the council leader.
Under the proposals, which Gosport Borough Council is to put out to public consultation, the bus station, pictured, will be knocked down and replaced with an iconic new building.
Buses will use lay-bys to pick up passengers.
Councillor Peter Chegwyn, leader of the Gosport Lib Dems, dismissed the plan as ‘bonkers’.
‘We should be improving transport in Gosport, not demolishing it,’ he said.
‘The money would be much better spent on the A32. I think it will never get off the drawing board.’
But council leader Mark Hook has insisted Gosport does not need a bus station.
Council leader Mark Hook said: ‘I have a view that buses should be on the road picking up people so we don’t need a bus station. But we do need facilities for buses.
‘The idea is to keep buses on the roads and keep them moving.
‘What I would like to see is buses going around and picking up passengers.
‘They have got a good depot in Fareham.
‘All they need from Gosport is somewhere they can stop if they are ahead of time.’
The regeneration of the bus station area is expected to cost around £100m.
Kate Penfold, 75, of Albemarle Avenue, Gosport, said: ‘I come down here with my shopping and buses are just sat there.
‘This new idea would get the buses on the road and not sat around. An iconic building would be a good idea but we won’t be able to compete with Portsmouth. For young people it would be nice to have something in Gosport to be proud of.’
The Harbour Cancer Support Centre provides counselling for around 120 people each month and is based at the bus station.
Director Melanie Waitfield-Tinkler said: ‘I hope there will be a provision for community use and that we will be thought of, especially as we have done so well. We are the only service in the whole area that offers counselling for cancer patients.’