Controversial plans to create a new bus hub on Liverpool’s Old Haymarket have been recommended for approval.
Liverpool City Council’s planning committee deferred proposals for the permanent layover facility last month in order to carry out another round of consultation.
Local business owners fear the scheme, which would be situated on a site currently used as a surface car park, would be hugely detrimental to the area.
The applicant, Liverpool City Council, issued letters to over 300 addresses nearby, inviting residents and businesses to a drop-in event, which approximately 30 people attended.
Noise and air pollution, loss of business, blocked views and increased vibrations were amongst the fears raised at the event.
According to a report recommending the bus hub for approval, Merseytravel estimates that around 1,700 buses would access the facility on a daily basis, with the potential impact most pronounced between the hours of 7am – 7pm ,when up to 120 buses per hour travelling through the hub.
A study carried out into the noise impact of the bus hub recommends the council pays for apartments which face onto the facility to have upgraded glazing installed and “appropriate alternative ventilation strategies” to negate the need for open windows.
The report notes that these measures would only apply to residential properties and not any businesses which may be affected.
In terms of pollutants arising from the operation of the bus hub, an air quality assessment found that there is likely to be an increase in concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution however levels would still be below the annual mean limit set out buy the council’s Air Quality Management Area.
The report, which will be considered by the planning committee next week (26 February), adds: “The head of planning has carefully considered all elements of this proposal in particular the concerns raised by local residents in respect of increases in air pollution and noise levels, together with issues relating to the loss of available car parking and difficulties in servicing their properties under the proposed new highway arrangements.
“She recognises the impact of an estimated 1,700 additional bus movements per day on this local community, however she considers that their concerns have been addressed as part of the applications proposals.
“In overall terms, the proposed development of a bus hub is a significant element of the Liverpool City Centre Connectivity scheme, and the head of planning considers that the proposed site on Old Haymarket is the most appropriate location, as it is in close proximity to Queen Square Bus Station, to provide a single location where bus services can temporarily lay over before returning to the network.”