Calls for bus shelter to keep Sidmouth travellers out the rain

Bus users wanting to keep out of the rain in Sidmouth have called for a shelter to be reinstalled.

Bus users wanting to keep out of the rain in Sidmouth have called for a shelter to be reinstalled. - Credit: Archant

Bus users wanting to keep out of the rain in Sidmouth have called for a shelter to be reinstalled.

But Devon county councillor Stuart Hughes says the question is the expense of maintaining the shelter, which would cost in region of £7,000 to buy and install alone.

The debate follows a complaint made by a resident regarding the removal of the bus shelter at Yarde Hill.

During the Sidmouth Town Council meeting on Monday, September 2, Cllr Denise Bickley said the authority had a duty to provide a shelter and a bench for bus users wherever possible in rural areas where buses are infrequent.

She added: "I am informed that there is no budget for the bus shelters since 2010, and StreetScene's remit is just to maintain until removal is needed."

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Cllr Bickley called for a joint council solution to be found and asked, if possible, for the town council to request notification of when a shelter was at risk, so it could possibly be adopted.

"We have seen the great job the repair cafe did with the bench in Woolbrook for example. Once they're gone, it is too late," Cllr Bickley said. "It seems we are saying no to far too many issues and are being accused of not providing even the most basic service, let alone one to be expected in a pretty affluent town, where we want to be encouraging use of public transport whenever possible."

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Cllr Hughes said the basic shelter costs around £5,000 and then it would cost a further £2,000 for it to be installed.

He added: "The main issue once installed is who then who takes on responsibility for any ongoing maintenance and works required over time.

"On main routes outside of Exeter, Fernbank have provided shelters where they can gain advertising revenue. The one on the A3052 by the turning for Waitrose is an example.

"They have recently been involved in taking on more shelters in the Exmouth area and may be interested in Sidmouth. I have asked officers to look into this and have asked specifically to look at a site on the A3052 near Yarde Hill."

Cllr Hughes said district councils did not tend to get involved and have passed bus shelter responsibilities down to town or parish councils who can fund their own shelters.

"Again it's not just putting the shelter up but also who maintains it afterward," he said.

"The only other options I am aware of is that sometimes new developments fund shelters but that doesn't solve the maintenance issue either... However it's something the planning committee should bear in mind when deliberating applications."

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