£4.8million bus interchange in Flitwick set to open 9 months late after "summer of hell"

Contractors are being called back to carry out remedial work after bus operator said interchange was unsafe
Flitwick bus interchange. PIC: Malcolm TattersallFlitwick bus interchange. PIC: Malcolm Tattersall
Flitwick bus interchange. PIC: Malcolm Tattersall

Flitwick’s “summer of hell” could be over by Christmas when the town’s £4.8million bus interchange finally opens – NINE months late.

Contractors are being called back in October to carry out remedial work after local bus operator Grant Palmer claimed it was unsafe.

A spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council said this included “removing distractions for drivers when they pull out of the interchange”. But he denied rumours that the interchange had been so badly designed that buses could not drive in and out.

Following an inspection meeting with Grant Palmer and representatives of Stagecoach, the size of bus cages – markings on the road to show where the bus should stop – will be reduced.

An “uncontrolled crossing point” will also be changed with different coloured paving to show pedestrians where it is safe to cross the road.

The spokesman said the work would take about three weeks to complete but did not know how much it would cost on top of the £4.8million already spent.

Once the work has been finished, council officials will hold another inspection meeting with the bus conpanies. Then if everything is satisfactory, an application will be made to the Traffic Commissioners to change bus routes to include the interchange.

But that will take at least another six weeks and the interchange cannot be used without the commissioners’ approval.

A spokesman for Flitwick-based Grant Palmer said: “We are working with Central Bedfordshire Council to resolve these issues and are looking to serve the interchange as soon as they are. Once the improvement works have taken place. We will reassess and go from there.”

Local Independent councillor Heather Townsend welcomed the news. She said: “I am delighted to hear the bus operators have found a way forward to use the new interchange. Residents of Flitwick have had a summer of hell with roadworks across town and buses stopping on Steppingley Road rather than using the interchange.”