What about the community groups?

After 50 years used by diverse groups, Emerald Centre to become bus station "disrupting Hammersmith town centre landscape".

London Buses, part of Transport for London, has submitted to Hammersmith and Fulham Council's planning department its plans for the development of a temporary bus station where the Emerald Centre is located. London Buses is planning to use the land for seven years because the current bus station, just yards away, is operating at capacity in passenger and buses numbers.

Hammersmith Community Trust, which runs the Emerald Centre, has now until the 17 of July for presenting comments to the planning department against London Buses plans. Residents and several community groups have used the centre for 50 years and it will be very difficult to replace the facility, according to Louanne Tranchell, secretary of HCT.

In a letter to HCT, London Buses said: "The reality is that in order to fulfil our responsibility to our passengers we need the space".

If London Buses has the go ahead from the planning department, the Emerald Centre will have three months to find an alternative space and then wait for at least seven years. When the full redevelopment of the area is undertaken, it might be able to come back: "It has been indicated to us that our long term plans for the site need to include space for a community facility", says London Buses letter.

The temporary bus station at the heart of Hammersmith Town Centre would include the provision of bus shelters and passengers islands beneath a canopy together with an information kiosk. Mrs Tranchell says that it looks like a "filling station": "Our town centre is a prestigious area. What London Buses is planning is not appropriate for the site, disrupting Hammersmith landscape".

Despite the controversy, London Buses "do not feel that public consultation is appropriate for these interim plans". But Hammersmith Community Trust does believe that the public deserves to be at least better informed about this. The plans are on public view at Hammersmith Town Hall and anyone willing to find out more can contact Louanne Tranchell on 020 87483079.


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