WORK on the £1million redevelopment of Weymouth station is nearing completion, but some commuters and councilors have raised concerns about its value for money.
The project, which began last November, was originally due to be completed in March, but the “main construction phase” is now expected to wrap up next week.
Opinions were split among commuters, with some saying they felt the development “looked far better than before” while others questioned the value for money of the project.
Darren, a commuter, said: ‘From what I’ve seen progress seems to have been rather slow for what we have – they can’t even clear the signs.
“I don’t know exactly where all the money went. It’s all rather disappointing to be honest.”
A new bus stop has been installed outside the forecourt with the X52, X53 and 502 stopping at the station.
WEYMOUTH Town and Dorset Council Councilor Jon Orrell said he felt improvements to the station were “a start”, but there was still much to be done to promote sustainable transport options at Weymouth.
He said: “It’s a missed opportunity, certainly there was a real chance to create an integrated hub for public transport as they have done in Poole.
“They have made progress and at least some of the buses will stop at the station but it really should be all services.
“The council has spent all that money but, really, they’re probably halfway there and will probably have to revisit it at a later date to create a real transit interchange.”
But David Burchill, a resident and member of a local community forum, said he was concerned about the potential for increased congestion as a result of the new bus routes.
He said: “I want to reserve judgment a bit because it’s not finished yet, but for a million pounds we’d like it to look better.
“Let’s be honest, with the way the station looks at the moment, it’s not quite the welcome visitors want to see, but again, we’ll have to take another look at it once it gets there. will truly be over.”
The redevelopment includes improvements to the station forecourt and the creation of a walkway and cycle path linking the Jubilee Business Park and King Street: landscaping will be completed around autumn.
Cllr Orrell, who represents Melcombe Regis, said any future plans were needed to encourage increased use of public transport.
He said: “Obviously as a Green Councilor I want to get a lot more people on public transport, which means improving the connectivity of trains and buses: using park and ride correctly and providing options for regular public transportation that makes it viable for people not to drive.”
Councilor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for motorways, travel and the environment, said: ‘The new station forecourt development is a great improvement on what was previously there and has been transformed from truly collaborative way.
“The overall aim of the changes was to make the forecourt area more welcoming to our visitors, to make it a safer space with less anti-social behavior and to maximize sustainable travel options by improving bus connections.
“The views of residents and businesses were sought during the development stages of this design, as well as those of City Council and other stakeholders who helped shape the new development.
“When we officially open later this year, we will celebrate this as a great example of how councils can work in partnership with the local community to make much needed improvements.”
At the time of approval, the total cost of delivering the improvements, put together by the Dorset Coast Forum, was £997,096 and included a grant of £450,000 from the South Western Railway Customer and Communities Improvement Fund. The rest of the funding was provided by Dorset Council, Public Health Dorset, Weymouth BID and Weymouth Town Council.