Tories demand a re-think on bus station repair costs

Preston Bus Station
Preston Bus Station
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Tories have called for a major re-think on the £24m Preston Bus Station project, just three weeks after it was agreed in a blaze of publicity.

The Conservative group at County Hall fears plans to keep repair costs to “a bare minimum” could compromise safety for young people using a proposed youth zone on the site.

Five councillors have forced the authority to call a special meeting on Thursday to discuss calling in the scheme for further debate.

“This is not just a matter of repairing and renovating the bus station in Preston, but a matter of safety for young people,” said Coun Christian Wakeford. “Where previous reports have stated £14m should be spent to bring the structure up to a safe standard, Labour are wanting to spend just half this amount.

“This will raise questions as to whether the solution is not only fit for purpose for the youth zone, but whether the solution will be safe for young people. This is blatantly a betrayal of the young people of Preston.”

The five Tory members, including leader Geoff Driver, say they have reviewed the report from engineers highlighting how repair costs could spiral up to £14m, with the bare minimum work topping £10m.

They claim the Labour administration believe the repair work could be done for half that – despite what the experts say.

Abandoning a purpose-built £6m youth zone on Bow Lane and moving it to the bus station has been criticised by some young people.

Connor Dwyer, Preston member of the Youth Parliament, said: “I don’t see this working and I am thoroughly disappointed by these proposals. LCC clearly have little respect for local youth voice and democracy.”