Bureaucracy threat to bus depot

HOPES of Ipswich getting a new hi-tec bus depot by the end of the year have been dashed – by safety fears from the rail industry!Ipswich Buses had been due to move into a new bus depot on the site of the former bacon factory in Hadleigh Road at the end of the year.

HOPES of Ipswich getting a new hi-tec bus depot by the end of the year have been dashed – by safety fears from the rail industry!

Ipswich Buses had been due to move into a new bus depot on the site of the former bacon factory in Hadleigh Road at the end of the year.

The new depot would be one of the most modern in the country, and would be built by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) as part of its urban regeneration scheme.

After moving to its new depot, the existing Ipswich Buses depot and offices in Constantine Road could be redeveloped as part of the Ipswich Village project.


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However the move has been delayed for at least 18 months after infrastructure company Network Rail insisted on safety work on the bridges near the site.

The safety issues arose after the 2001 Selby rail crash in Yorkshire when a van left the road, crashed through a bridge and ended up on a main rail line, causing a train crash which left 10 people dead.

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Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson said: "Network Rail is insisting all bridges must be strengthened to prevent similar accidents in the future.

"We cannot start work on the new depot until the safety work has been completed on the Hadleigh Road bridge.

"The work will actually be done by EEDA but it has to be approved by Network Rail – and that's what causes the delay."

Mr Robson said the bus company and EEDA had asked for permission to carry out the work in March – but it was expected to take six months for permission to come through.

"It's just very bureaucratic – we wait until they give a decision and then we can start planning the work," he said.

"We can't actually start work on the depot until the bridge work is completed – and the depot itself will take nine months to complete.

"Realistically we won't get the depot finished until the second half of 2006. It's a bit frustrating but there's nothing we can do about it," he said.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said: "As a responsible owner of many structures and buildings, we have to make sure that any work undertaken by third parties has comprehensive safety statements and systems of working. "We apologise for any delay to Ipswich Buses project, but for reasons of safety we have to follow proper procedure.

"We are talking and will endeavour to move this project forward as quickly as

possible."

nDo safety fears cause too many delays? What is your view? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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