Pudsey Labour Party have issued a ‘hands off our bus station’ warning over a Conservative initiative aiming to breathe new life into Pudsey town centre.
As reported by WLD, a committee made up of Conservative politicians, business leaders and residents will be formed to help attract more investment to improve Pudsey town centre.
One idea could see the existing bus station area transformed into a town square for events, special markets and other activities.
Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew, Cllr Andrew Carter (Calverley & Farsley) and Cllr Simon Seary (Pudsey) say they will be working closely with residents to draw up plans to improve investment in Pudsey town centre and make the town a more vibrant, exciting and attractive place for residents and businesses alike.
But Pudsey Labour Party has warned against any proposals to lose the bus station from its current site and has called for transparent community engagement over the project. Member Chris Dunford Kelk said:
“The bus station opened at the end of 2010, having cost £3.25 million (including associated highways works). It provides people with shelter and seating whilst waiting for the buses, makes changing from one bus to another easier, and keeps the town centre free from the congestion that buses stopping on the roadside used to cause.
“Thousands of people use the bus station, to travel to and from work, to visit Pudsey’s shops and park, and to travel to our neighbouring cities.
“The sheer waste of money in wanting to write off the millions of pounds that were invested in the bus station is astounding. Not to mention that we are in a climate emergency and should be encouraging people to use more environmentally-friendly methods of transport rather than taking steps that will inevitably push people into higher car use.
“We are always keen to make improvements to Pudsey and look forward to playing an active part in the committee that they are proposing to create to improve investment in the town centre.
“However, we will fight tooth and nail against the vandalism to the town’s infrastructure that the Conservatives are proposing and we urge the people of Pudsey to join our campaign to save our bus station.”
Mr Kelk said that the bus station was planned, commissioned and built as a joint initiative between Metro and the council, which at the time was a Conservative-led administration.
WLD spoke to Pudsey councillors Simon and Dawn Seary, who said the town square proposal was currently ‘just one of many ideas’ and was at an early stage. The idea was to create a ‘pop up area’ – almost a ‘mini Millennium Square’ – in Pudsey.
They said even if the town square idea happened, it wouldn’t leave Pudsey without good quality facilities for buses. They said good transport links were of paramount importance:
“It’s good that this has started discussions in the town – that is what we wanted.
“We want to see a more vibrant Pudsey Town Centre, with more shops and attracting new businesses. We want to bring more people into Pudsey Town Centre. We’re looking at this as a ‘what if’ scenario and at what might be done, were we able to secure funding to improve the area.
“We wouldn’t be getting rid of bus connectivity in Pudsey Town Centre or stopping buses, far from it, there would still be covered bus stops.
“We’ve always wanted a park and ride at New Pudsey Station to help take some of the pressure away from the town centre, with buses linking into it, and this idea jumps on the back of that.”
They said they were also very supportive of plans to see the proposed Leeds-Bradford mass transit system come through Pudsey, to further improve connectivity. “That could be massive for the town,” they added.
They also said that if the town square idea was progressed, there would be detailed public consultation run by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, who would ultimately decide the future of the bus station.
As part of the initiative, they plan to put together a committee to explore funding options that may be available to facilitate this and the views and ideas of residents.
Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew said last week:
“Myself and my colleagues all strongly agree that more needs to be done to ensure Pudsey’s full potential is being realised.
“I am particularly keen to ensure the transport issues we face are addressed, and that we do all we can to attract more investment. Most importantly, we want to get the ideas on how this can be achieved from people who are living and working in Pudsey, and I look forward to formulating a Committee to do this.”