Plans have been in motion since 2012 to rebuild Gosport Bus Station from the ground up, creating a ‘landmark’ waterfront location for the town.
A buyer was reportedly found in 2017, but plans have since fallen through.
Traders and politicians have been critical of a lack of progress, but council leader Cllr Mark Hook insists plans are in motion – although he ‘would have liked’ to see things move faster.
Keith Carter, retiring owner of Keith’s Heel Bar in Gosport Precinct, has described the bus station as a ‘missed opportunity’.
He said: ‘I believe the council has failed us by not doing anything to the bus station when Gunwharf Quays opened.
‘It’s been up for sale for so long now and is part of the wider high street problem.’
Originally built in the 1970s, the bus station was described in 2012 as ‘knackered’ by the council chief executive at the time, Ian Lycett, and an investment plan was drawn up.
Talk of redevelopment then resurfaced in 2015, before the site was put on the market in 2016.
Cllr Mark Hook says the site is now due to go back on the market once again.
‘We had a company interested in the site but it wouldn’t stack up for them financially,’ he said.
‘I would have like to move quicker, but the first thing to do is to move the buses out of the bus station, subject to funding which we’ll hear about next month.
‘It’s important that we get this right and don’t rush into anything; we want to provide first-class facilities at the entrance to the harbour.’
But Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, insists the development has ‘stalled’.
He said: ‘Something should have happened to the bus station by now, but nobody seems to be interested.
‘In my view we should just build a new bus station with a few shops on the ground floor.
‘Lots of redevelopment has been promised for the town centre but not a single brick has been planted.’