Plans to improve Plymouth’s second busiest bus interchange have been given the green light.
Planning permission has been granted for the Derriford Hospital Interchange scheme, which will convert the existing one-way bus link to allow buses to travel in both directions.
The scheme, which is being delivered in partnership with the Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, will also create separate taxi and passenger drop-off points and provide three additional bus stops outside the busy hospital.
As well as reducing congestion outside the main entrance and making bus journeys to and from the hospital quicker and more reliable, it will provide better waiting areas for bus and taxi passengers and those getting dropped off or picked up by car.
The scheme will cost around £2 million – made up of £1.4 million from the Heart-of-the-South-West Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Fund plus funding from the Council and the Trust.
Creating extra space for the new bus lane will mean removing part of the bank alongside the existing road and building a retaining wall, with new steps and ramp access to the car park.
As part of the detailed option development work we have carried out with the Trust over the past two years we have reduced the overall footprint of the interchange and moved it as far south as possible to minimise the impact on the grass bank, while still delivering the benefits of the scheme.
Up to 57 trees will need to be removed from the bank but we are working to retain as many as possible and at least one new tree will be planted for every one lost. Around 30 new trees (along with additional shrubs and hedges) will be planted on the same site, along with a number of extra new trees nearby – which will result in an increase in the number of trees overall.
Consultation feedback will be taken into account when finalising the landscaping plan and interested parties such as the Derriford Hospital Environment Group will be involved.
Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport and Planning, said: “The area outside Derriford Hospital is often congested, especially at peak times and this scheme should make a big difference to patients and visitors. By providing extra space for buses and making this a two-way link we will not only improve service reliability for bus passengers, but also help to improve bus journey times and keep traffic moving along the whole northern corridor. The scheme will also provide much better, safer areas for people being picked up and dropped off at the hospital.”
The Derriford Hospital Interchange scheme is part of a ‘master plan’ of highway improvements that will help unlock development and deliver 9,000 new jobs and 3,000 new homes in the north of the city. Construction is planned to start at the end of January and will take around nine months.