Concerns over bus facilities at Costessey store

Concerns have been raised that a new bus stop layout at a revamped superstore might be difficult to use and potentially unsafe.

Work to extend the Sainsbury's store at the Longwater Retail Park in Costessey has been going on for the past few months. The store has just reopened after being closed for several days to allow the final phase to be completed.

But fears were today raised that the distance from the bus stop to the store means passengers will not be able to get to it safely.

Campaigners at Norfolk Buswatch say the new bus facilities at the store are considerably worse than previously because passengers now have further to walk to the new bus stop.

It is now on the edge of the car park instead of in the middle close to the main entrance.

There is also concern about the narrowness of the bus access road which might make it hazardous for bus operators, including First, to run certain services on the site.

A spokesman for Norfolk Buswatch, said today the concerns have arisen because of a lack of consultation, and might mean that it fails a risk assessment conducted by bus companies.

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The spokesman said: 'We're disappointed to see regular bus users have been provided with worse facilities than previously existed and have now been marginalised so as to give preferential treatment to those arriving by car. This is neither very fair or very green.

'Providing good facilities for public transport as part of the overall improvements has not been properly thought through and will now act as a disincentive to use the bus.'

But a Sainsbury's spokesman said the locations of the bus shelters were discussed with Norfolk County Council before the car park layout was designed.

He said: 'Although the new shelter is further from the store entrance, the overall layout of the car park is better for our customers with all of the spaces north of the access road and considerably lower through-traffic.'

The expansion has created 120 part-time and full-time jobs at the store and store manager Chris Pardoe said the posts had been rapidly filled.

The extension at the Sainsbury's store means customers will find new homeware and home entertainment departments, a pizza bar, TU clothing range and environmentally-friendly toilets.

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