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Deal: South Street indoor bus shelter could be knocked down to make way for cinema

By Eleanor Perkins

The reopening of the indoor bus shelter in Deal’s South Street depends on whether the Regent developers submit a plan that requires space in the rear car park.

District councillor Pam Hawkins (Lab) says it is “unacceptable” that bus passengers currently have to huddle under a shelter which is open on three sides while waiting for transport.

Speaking at last Wednesday’s full district council meeting, she asked cabinet member for property management and environmental health, Cllr Trevor Bartlett (Con), if there were plans to reopen the shelter as she feels it should be reinstated.

Councillors Pam Hawkins and Bill Gardner with bus passengers outside the closed waiting room.
Councillors Pam Hawkins and Bill Gardner with bus passengers outside the closed waiting room.

She said: “Even during the summer we often experience wet, windy and cold days and an indoor waiting room is needed but during these cold months it is unacceptable that passengers do not have somewhere dry and safe to sit and wait for their bus.

“It has been boarded up for several months. Times and needs change but there is still a need for a waiting room at the bus terminal.

“Passengers arriving in the town centre by bus are often waiting to meet friends, passengers waiting for a bus to leave the town centre often have several shopping bags and passengers going further afield often have luggage.

“Standing in the open - sometimes waiting for a considerable time - is not pleasant in these circumstances.”

Cllr Bill Gardner (Lab) added: “Also many of the passengers are elderly and need a place to sit whilst waiting.”

But Cllr Bartlett responded saying there were no plans to reopen the shelter as it is not safe.

He also explained that the council may need to demolish it altogether if cinema developers put a proposal forward.

The bus shelter is next to South Street car park in Deal
The bus shelter is next to South Street car park in Deal

Roger Walton, director of environment and corporate assets, confirmed in August last year that the district council had agreed to sell cinema owners Mark Digweed and James Wallace part of the neighbouring car park to support their plans.

The developers have been liaising with the council’s planning department on pre-planning matters, but are yet to submit an official application.

Mr Digweed and Mr Wallace have been contacted by KentOnline for an expected date for this to happen but are yet to respond.

Cllr Bartlett said: “The shelter is closed as it is not safe and needs major repairs on it and at the moment we have no plans to re-open it because if The Regent come forward with a plan that includes taking some spaces for South Street car park we would reinstate the loss by knocking down the toilets and building.

“We need to be ready to react if a proposal comes forward but if it does not then we will make other arrangements.”

Cllr Bartlett has agreed to look at the current outdoor shelter to see if improvements could be made, however the final decision would be made by Kent County Council.

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