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Gloucestershire Business News

Over to you? Shire Hall seeks views for transport hub refresh

In the wake of a reported spend by Dransfield Properties of more than £25m  for the town's Five Valleys Shopping Centre, Stroud is now in line to see a cross-council investment of more than £300,000 on the location's embedded Merrywalks transport hub.

Shire Hall says that the project will seek to transform the hub into "a transport interchange that is user-friendly, accessible and inviting for people to use".

The proposed improvements will include higher quality bus shelters, real-time passenger info displays, better improvements, more CCTV and a "better waiting environment".

Other aims could include secure cycle storage, parcel collection points and a bike repair station.

The money is coming from Shire Hall (£200,000), Stroud District Council (£98,000 through its Community Infrastructure Levy CIL funding for 2024/25) and Stroud Town Council (£14,000).

The public are being invited to comment on what they would like to see at the hub and can submit additional ideas, GCC says, with input invited through a survey and an interactive map and ideas board to which visitors can add comments. The public engagement  will run until Monday September 9.

Cllr Catherine Braun, SDC leader, said: "Merrywalks is a very busy and well-used public transport hub, which is why we have committed funds to improving it. I would encourage anyone who uses it to take part in the survey, and help shape its future."

Helen Bojaniwska, CEO and Town Clerk of Stroud Town Council, added: "STC is excited to contribute £14,000 to transform the outdated Merrywalks transport hub into a modern, multi-modal interchange. This [total] investment will fund vital upgrades like new bus shelters, real-time passenger information, lighting, CCTV, and an enhanced waiting area."

Cllr Philip Robinson, cabinet member for buses at Shire Hall, said: "These improvements will transform Merrywalks transport hub into a vibrant and well-used centre to help people make their journeys around the county."

An Accessible Gloucestershire review of Stroud's bus station carried out in 2019 indicated that work needed to be done on improving visual guidance at the station.

The report for Stroud Town Council said: "Stroud bus station has eight bus stops in total which are either side of a main road. There are traffic light systems at each end of the station which makes it easy to access all areas of the station. The bus station area is spacious with wide pathways so there is plenty of space for people to wait and allow pedestrians to pass by."

It added: "The flags on the bus stops are quite small and may be difficult to identify for an individual with a visual impairment. Each bus stop has a shelter with seating, meaning an individual with limited mobility but no wheelchair will be able to wait comfortably.

"There are bus timetables at each of the bus stops apart from one, however these have quite small font and may be hard to read for people with a visual impairment."

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