Plea over bus station falls flat

John Wilson addressed councillors at Preston Town Hall over the future of the bus station
John Wilson addressed councillors at Preston Town Hall over the future of the bus station
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A campaigner’s impassioned plea for a referendum on the future of Preston Bus Station was overwhelmingly rejected at a meeting yesterday.

John Wilson, 64, of Fulwood, secured 1,435 signatures on a petition to trigger a debate by the city’s council.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Wilson said: “We have got £5m available from the bus station budget and where do we spend it? I say the bus station.

“Plan A has gone. The bus station, I think, must stay. It makes economical sense.

“The people of Preston have a voice, they have paid their council tax and they elected you as councillors but you are not listening to them.

“Eighty per cent of the people I’ve surveyed want the bus station to stay, but it needs investment.”

The leaders of the three main parties dismissed the call for a referendum.

Coun Peter Rankin, council leader, said: “(The bus station) probably needs about £5m of refurbishment and would that be a sensible thing for the council to do, to put all the funds that are at its disposal into refurbishing one building? I think not.

“We can’t deal with one part of the city centre in isolation.”

Coun Ken Hudson, Conservative group leader, said: “It’s a very big building and it has limited uses.”

He urged the council to “look at it very carefully and look at all the options that are available to this concrete building”.

Coun Bill Shannon, Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “I’m not in favour of a referendum on this matter.”

Only Terry Cartwright, Deepdale Independent, voted in favour of holding a referendum.

He said: “We always call ourselves a listening council. As an independent, I have got to listen.”

Despite the votes against the referendum, Mr Wilson said he was pleased the petition had brought sparked the debate.

He said he planned to call a meeting with Coun Rankin and continue his campaign.