Petition launched in campaign for buses

Bus services no longer stop near to the old station, and traders say turnover is in decline as a result of a dramatic drop in customers.

The frustrated traders have now launched a petition to bring back bus services, and more than 700 shoppers have added their names to the ever-growing list as Chad went to press.

Debbie Simkins, who runs D ‘n’ G’s Hair Salon on Rosemary Street, is spearheading the campaign.

She says that regular customers are helping to keep her business afloat, but hopes of attracting new customers have faded.

She said: “People are unable to get to this part of town now that the bus station is situated elsewhere.

“There are no bus routes or bus stops around the Rosemary Centre or Rosemary Street. People are finding it too far to come and shop, then to carry their shopping all the way back to the bus station, so therefore are not coming to this part of the town.

“There has been a huge loss in footfall, I and other business owners, as well as the workers in this area, fear for our jobs and our livelihood.

“There are no pick up or drop off points around here anymore. We want this part of town put back on the route.

“It’s for everybody’s sake, if businesses did start to close it would have a long-term knock-on effect.”

Jimmy Johnstone, manager at the Iceland store at the Rosemary Centre, said around 1,500 fewer people are coming through the doors since the bus station relocated.

“The bus station was supposed to bring people in to town, but it’s been counter effective in this end of the town,” he said.

“It’s not encouraging anyone to come shopping, and we feel like we’re being forgotten about.”

After being contacted by the Chad, Nottinghamshire County Council said that plans were in place to include a drop-off point on Rosemary Street as a direct result of the growing anxiety from shopkeepers.

A spokesman said: “There is going to be a bus stop going in in the next few weeks, at the request from the local businesses.

“It will only be a drop-off point, but people won’t be able to get on there.”

Meanwhile, Mansfield District Council has said that the old bus station forms part of major plans for the town’s future.

Coun Kate Allsop, portfolio holder for economic regeneration, said: “The old bus station site is crucial to the development and regeneration of the town centre as it is in an excellent location to attract large retail stores.

“While we seek to find a suitable partner to develop the site, we will be demolishing the old bus station toilets and the vacant café and restaurant at 4 Walkden Street and building a temporary 124-space car park on the site. The spaces will replace those in the former Station Road car park, which is now the site of the new bus station.

“The temporary car park will enhance access to the town centre and will encourage more people to visit the area. Work on the site is expected to take up to three months and it is hoped that the car park will open this summer.”