Call for city mayor

John Wilson
John Wilson
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A campaigner bidding to save Preston’s bus station from demolition is calling for a Boris Johnson-style mayor to run the city.

Fulwood resident John Wilson has confirmed he is to bid to secure 5,050 signatures to an online petition which will trigger a referendum on whether the city gets a mayor.

If he is successful, the city’s council would have to put the idea to the public vote and, if it wins support, run an election to appoint a mayor.

Mr Wilson said it would give people opposed to the planned demolition the chance to cast “a vote confidence” in the city.

He held showdown talks with council leader Peter Rankin and deputy leader John Swindells yesterday where he asked them to use the £1.8m it will use to demolish the building to “tread water” for coming years.

The campaigner said: “This building has been treading water for the past 13 years, there is no reason it cannot do the same for the next few years.

“By this time the economic picture could pick up and other investors maybe interested.”

He added he believed the cost of nearly £300,000-a-year quoted by the council to keep the bus station had been “massaged” to support its bid to demolish the building.

A meeting of the full council is expected to debate the move today with a decision taken by its cabinet on Monday evening.

Deputy chief executive Bernard Hayes confirmed the council’s officers were meeting with Mr Wilson about his referendum petition.

On claims of the figures, he added: “The salaries and wages budget pays for a total of nine security officers who patrol the Bus Station for over 17 hours a day for the seven days a week it is open.

“At any one time a team of three are on site.

“The bus station is large public building open from 7am till midnight, with an average of 56,000 users per day.

“This brings with it many and varied security issues ranging from genuine passenger and user problems, for example, lost luggage to numerous incidents of anti social behaviour.

“The building is cleaned every day, it has to be otherwise the toilets and waiting areas would be unusable.”

The Lancashire Evening Post is running an online survey to gather opinions on Preston’s bus station, to take part click here.