New look single terminal set to replace 1994 version
After some speculation in the last seven years, Ashton-under-Lyne is set to receive a high quality bus and tram interchange. The new Ashton Interchange will be completed in 2018, costing £32.7 million.
The state of the art facility is set to replace the present five platform structure built in 1994. Instead of opting for platforms, bus boarding facilities are likely to be under one roof as seen at Huddersfield, Rochdale and Middleton bus stations. It’ll incorporate Ashton’s Metrolink station.
There has been plans to modernise Ashton’s bus station since 2008, though plans have been dependent on the Arcades Shopping Centre’s proposed expansion. Previous plans have seen artist’s impressions of the bus station being seen under part of the extended shopping centre, with a new anchor store facing Wellington Road. Following the global downturn and a loss of high profile retailers, the centre’s plans appear to have been mothballed.
The £32.7 million injection into Ashton-under-Lyne is a small but significant chunk of a £500 million investment package announced by Deputy Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Nick Clegg MP [Sheffield Hallam] this morning. It is part of a five year £350 million package for Greater Manchester. So far, it will see:
- £110 million Local Transport Block money: agreed in December 2013;
- A further £154 million Local Growth Fund money: effective between 2016-17 and 2020 – 21;
- A further £37 million made available in local match funding between 2016 and 2021.
Also part of Greater Manchester’s wider Growth Deal package will be a £115 million scheme to upgrade Stockport bus station with associated improvement works to the public realm and the A6 on Wellington Roads North and South. £41.8 million is earmarked for the bus/rail/tram interchange, which is set to allow for a future Metrolink extension from East Didsbury. There will also be funding for 12 new trams and three new platforms at Salford Central railway station.
The scheme will also fund manufacturing equipment at Tameside College’s Beaufort Road campus (which will already benefit from refurbishment in 2018), provide employment support for vulnerable people, and reform public services.
Ashton’s new bus station, on opening in 2018, will be its fourth in 55 years. It is likely to be a major advance on the platform based layouts which has characterised the town’s bus stations since 1963.
As the most used bus station outside of Central Manchester, Ashton’s bus users is set to gain a termini which does its passengers justice. Certainly one which is more hospitable in the evenings. A dedicated taxi rank and priority at the traffic lights for Metrolink trams would be nice too. We await the plans with interest.
S.V., 07 July 2014.