49.1. Mr Michael Newsham, Integrated Transport Officer at Ipswich Borough Council, presented a report on the Proposed Bus Stop Relocation on Norwich Road.
49.2. The Officer confirmed that Ipswich Borough Council had a responsibility to provide bus stops in Ipswich and had been working jointly with Suffolk County Council to complete a previous project to install raised bus stop kerbs on the route of Services 9 and 10 which served Castle Hill and Whitton Ward. Raised kerbs were deemed important as they helped make it easier for bus passengers to board buses by removing the gap between the floor of the bus and the kerb. This was especially important for passengers who were elderly, had physical disabilities, mobility problems or with prams/buggies.
49.3. When a raised bus stop kerb was installed, it was the Council’s practice to install a bus stop clearway restriction which made it an offence to stop or park at the bus stop during the times that the clear way was enforced. The restrictions were considered important as without them, buses may not be able to pull up flush to the raised kerb and would have to stop in the middle of the road, which made it difficult or impossible for people with mobility problems to board buses safely.
49.4. With regards to the Norwich Road bus stop, there was currently an existing inbound bus stop which was just before the junction at Lower Dales View Road and was situated between two dropped kerbs. As a result of the above, a consultation was held earlier in the year to position the bus stop outside 380a Norwich Road. An objection had been received to this, which had been attached at Exempt Appendix B and the Committee had been provided the opportunity to read this in full.
49.5. Due to the nature of the objection it was considered appropriate to carry out a second consultation on an alternative proposal which would move the bus stop slightly further to the position outside 382 Norwich Road which was outside the Physiotherapy Health Centre. Two objections had been received which stated that they felt there would an increase in traffic congestion, impact on road safety and access to the business. Officers had commented on this within the report and whilst it was acknowledged that there would be temporary blockage to the access whilst a bus had pulled up to the stop, based on the data which had been provided by First Eastern Counties Buses and Ipswich Buses, only 11% of the buses that currently use Norwich Road are stopping at the existing bus stop, and buses would only be stopping for as long as necessary to pick up or drop off passengers as the bus stop is not a timing point. As such, it was considered that the impact would be small.
49.6. Mr Newsham advised that although only a few people were known to use the bus stop per day, the Council had embarked on the project to ensure that anyone with a mobility impairment could access any bus stop. Although only an average of 12 people used the bus per day, there could be more people who would use the bus stop but at present could not. The alternative proposal would mean two bus stops would be closer together however, the officer recommendation remained.
49.7. Mr Newsham confirmed that in the case of both proposals, a public notice had been placed on the bus stop itself to make users aware and there been no objections from bus passengers. It was also noted that the Council’s longstanding practice was to avoid putting bus stops outside residential properties wherever possible, although this was not mandatory.
49.8. Councillor Fisher asked what the distance was between the existing bus stop at the bridge and the bus stop opposite the car garage. Mr Newsham advised that he would need to confirm the exact distance after the meeting.
49.9. A representative on behalf of the Physiotherapy Centre spoke on the matter and raised the following concerns:
· Many passengers drove customised and large transport (such as motorhomes) when attending their appointments.
· As there was only one access route in and out of the car park if this was blocked, it would mean patients could not get in/out and would cause queues on Norwich Road.
· Deliveries to the dentist opposite meant cars had to encroach on the other lane which would worsen with a bus stop in place.
49.10. A representative on behalf of their parent at 380A Norwich Road spoke on the matter and raised the following concerns:
· Reminded the Committee of the personal reasons as to why this would have a negative impact on their mother’s life.
· Advised that a business was only open business hours whereas a home was someone’s home for 24 hours a day, every day.
49.11.The Committee considered the spoken objections, the objections in the report and the Officers recommendations.
It was RESOLVED:-
that the inbound bus stop outside 362/364 Norwich Road be relocated to an alternative position outside 380/382 Norwich Road and that a set of raised bus stop kerbs be installed at the relocated bus stop, in accordance with the plan shown in Appendix C of the report.
Reason: to assist bus passengers who are wheelchair users or who have other mobility impairments to more easily and safely board and alight from buses.