‘Flagship’ plans to transform the forecourt of Three Bridges Railway Station could be approved this week.
The scheme would aim to improve access and safety for rail passengers through a new pedestrian area immediately in front of the station, as well as new dedicated pick up area and taxi rank, with upgraded bus waiting facilities.
Crawley Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Commission (CBC) recommended that £430,000 from developer contributions be put towards the proposals at a meeting on Monday (February 9).
The Cabinet is set to make a final decision tonight (Wednesday February 11).
Cllr Peter Smith (Lab, Ifield), CBC’s cabinet member for planning and development, hoped it would be a ‘flagship’ project for the town’s main station, and added: “It’s the right thing to do for the town and the right thing to do for the station.”
Cllr Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate), leader of the council, said: “This was the best possible configuration we can get and it’s an opportunity we can’t miss.”
Cllr Bill Ward (Lab, West Green), chair of the committee, added: “It’s a gift to the town and we would be foolish not to grab it with both hands.”
The work would be carried out by West Sussex County Council as the highways authority, but has seen CBC taking the leading role in drawing up proposals.
Section 106 funding totalling £430,000 was secured from the development of the new maintenance depot and operations centre at Three Bridges, but the money can only be used on improvements to the station and has to be spent by March 2017.
Members spoke in favour of the proposals, but some raised concerns around stopping cars turning immediately right out of the station.
Cllr Brenda Smith (Lab, Langley Green) was one of several to raise concerns over the loss of a right-hand turn and the pressure it might put on other roundabouts and junctions in the area.
Cllr Smith described the level of accidents outside the station as ‘unacceptable’ and replied: “We are concerned these alternative routes are as safe as possible. West Sussex County Council highways are responsible for these designs and modelling the traffic through them.”
Cllr Bob Lanzer (Con, Pound Hill South and Worth) asked if they could look at ways to bundle planned schemes in the area together, such as the traffic management works in Billinton Drive and Station Hill, to minimise disruption.
The decision follows public consultation on the options last year and of the 269 respondents, 62 per cent preferred the proposed option, with those in favour arguing it offered a greater level of safety for pedestrians and cyclists.