Nelson’s old bus station could be brought back into use if plans drawn up by Pendle Council’s economic and housing regeneration unit bear fruit.
The station, under the multi-storey car park in Broadway, has been unused since the bus/rail interchange opened in December, 2008.
There has been much discussion about how the facility could be brought back into use, but nothing positive has come out of the talks – until now.
It was revealed this week that Pendle Council has been approached by the organiser of a car boot sale with a view to running one in the station.
The EHR unit has submitted a change of use application to the council – and this is set to go to the council’s Nelson Committee on Monday.
Members are recommended to approve it.
It is estimated around 85 cars/stalls could be accommodated on the site which would operate between 7am and 4pm on Saturdays.
Coun. Paul White, executive member with responsibility for economic development, said: “The old bus station is owned by the same people who own the shopping centre and car park.
“We have been in discussions with them for some time with regard to using this space.
“This has now been agreed subject to planning approval.
“It is well suited to a car boot-type sale as it is self-contained and under cover and would mean an additional market can be run without the loss of car parking spaces elsewhere.
“Car boots and flea markets are extremely popular.
“It is hoped these additional retail options will increase footfall in the town and in turn support permanent businesses in Nelson.
“I wholeheartedly support this innovative idea.
“As a council we should, and are, actively promoting enterprising ideas to boost our local area, and this is a great one!
“Car boots are incredibly popular, and will attract a greater footfall to the town, something this administration has been fully committed to.”
A report to Monday’s meeting from planning officer Keith Thompson says the proposal is part of the Mary Portas pilot scheme to regenerate the town centre and would, to a small degree, make a positive contribution towards this objective.
“The last use of the site as a bus station had multiple visitors and bus trips in any given day and both Broadway and Sagar Street adequately absorbed the traffic flow.
“The proposed use would, for the day of the car boot sale, experience peak traffic flows for the initial set-up and when sellers leave at the end of the day.
“It is likely shopper visits would be less concentrated and visit the site more infrequently through the day.
“In any event, the comings and goings to the site would not be akin to the former use and adequately situated to accommodate a car boot sale in terms of parking and traffic flow.
“It is not likely a car boot sale would occur seven days a week and if it did, the use is acceptable in this town centre location.
“It is important to control the level of operational hours in the interest of protecting the character of the area and can be secured by condition.”