The site of the former bus station in Exeter can become a ‘major asset’ once demolition work is complete, according to the leader of the city council.
Representatives last week rubber-stamped the £900,000 flattening of the old transport hub, writes Local Democracy Reporter Ollie Heptinstall.
Work has finished on a replacement bus station and the adjoining St Sidwell’s Point leisure centre.
The plot forms part of the ‘CityPoint’ regeneration proposals agreed in 2019 to redevelop the wider area including parts of Paris Street and Sidwell Street.
Exeter City Council is keen to utilise the old bus station area for ‘interim uses’ – which could include an outdoor market.
Members were told the plot could become available for new uses within a year.
Leader Phil Bialyk told colleagues: “I want us to do something with it. I want to engage the business community, local councillors and the community to see what we could put in there.
“We’ve got an opportunity to bring forward something that could be imaginative for the community, and I want to work with the councillors on how we can bring that forward for the benefit of the city.
“I think it could be a major asset, and to a degree a bit of an income source for us as well at the same time.”
A bid is being made to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to pay for the demolition work.
If unsuccessful, the council says it will fund this through extra revenue generated from the recently-acquired Guildhall Shopping Centre.
Cllr Bialyk – a former bus driver – said the £900,000 had already been set aside and that, through improving and ‘de-risking’ the site, its value will go up.
“We don’t want it to fall into disrepair,” he added. “We don’t want it to be a centre for antisocial behaviour in the middle of our city.
“We want to de-risk it [and]get rid of it.”