– The City Council is currently running a public consultation on its proposals to invigorate the City by creating new Public Squares and transforming the way that the city functions going forward.
In its current form I cannot support the City proposals as it will badly impact the city creating less public transport and delivering poor penetration to the heart of our city.
I accept that the retail centres of towns and cities are needing to change because of the change in shopping practice, the digital revolution is sculpting very different retail models.
I accept that City centre changes will have to be made.
I also fully expect that the use of some buildings in the downtown core of the City will have to undertake a change of use. Some will need to switch to leisure and changing some retail sites into housing is another feature that will no doubt be required.
Yet all of those changes will still have to be served by some form of public transport. Either bus services or Light Rail Transit are the most likely form of transport for the job.
In a future Wolverhampton – a lack of transportation will impact heavily on those three important sector elements.
To go with the current plans which are out for public consultation are dangerous and very short sighted.
We need to build a city that gives access to all. Not just the young and the healthy, but to senior citizens, non car owners, people with disabilities. I am informed that at least 15 bus lines will be affected badly by the City’s current plans. That equates to over 7 million passenger journeys per year which will be lost to the city!.
That is a huge number of potential customers for Wolverhampton traders, retail or leisure users to lose out on. It cannot be good for the public transport operators either. If they lose that sort of custom in the City Centre, their local network services will reflect that loss and they will make amends elsewhere in their network by reducing vehicles or raising fares, or both!. Surely that is not the future City that our City Council wants to promote.
I have made my views known in the Labour Group, and I have responded to the Consultation. I want to make sure that Wednesfield North residents know where I stand on this issue. Lets make the plans work, because we will need to be amongst those City’s and Towns that have to change their offer. Lets just do it with public transport in our minds!