THE planning application for a care home on Eastbourne Gardens car park makes interesting reading.
It states: “The most ideal location for a care home is within a built-up residential area, which provides good access to public transport and a nearby source of employees. The site is ideally located close to a good public transport network into Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, Blyth, Newcastle and surrounding areas, as well as an available workforce.”
It goes on: “Further to the discussion with North Tyneside highways department the existing access into both car parks, at the north end of the site, has been accepted as the logical point of vehicular entry into the site. There is a proposed alteration to the existing wide roadway and roundabout, previously used for bus turning, and no longer required; it was agreed that this is to be regulated as part of this development, and with a financial contribution from the applicant towards the cost.”
So, a car park which has been identified as crucial to the Dome regeneration project is to be built over.
The local council sells the land to a developer, including part of the bus turning circle.
The developer is informed that the bus turning circle is no longer required, even though every typical day sees 50 bus turning movements.
Then the developer agrees to help pay for the rest of the bus turning circle to be removed, having believed the council’s assertion that the bus turning circle was ‘previously used’.
Then Nexus – the body charged with promoting public transport – is delivered a fait accompli: the bus turning circle has been sold, and so withdraws its objection.
So the poor old bus company which needs to turn its buses finds it can no longer do so and is forced to retreat to the town centre, thus depriving the care home – and all the houses around it – of a service which has been provided by tram then bus for more than a century from here along Whitley Road to Tynemouth and beyond.
This is a most unfortunate state of affairs the cause of which, at best, can only be put down to incompetence.
If we must have a care home, why not retain the bus turning circle too?
It does not intersect with the building’s footprint – the perimeter railings would only need to be set back by up to a couple of metres or so, and a considerable amount of money could be saved from not having to remodel the road layout.
Or is that just too sensible?