IMPROVEMENTS are set to be made to Winchester Bus station.

Winchester City Council has announced new measures to improve the safety and appearance of the station.

As reported, the city council struck a deal with bus operators Stagecoach to buy the building for a fee, believed to be £4m.

Question marks over the future of the site started in the late 1990s when Stagecoach first indicated a desire to vacate the site.

Now the council is set to demolish a disused garage building to enable safer bus movement.

This will open the way for works in July and August to create new parking arrangements within the bus station.

Whilst works are carried out there will be some temporary changes to use of on-street parking in The Broadway to cater for displaced buses.

The bus station work is due to be completed by September.

The council intends to work with Hampshire County Council and bus operators to re-route buses to tackle the conflict between buses and people along the semi-pedestrianised High Street.

It is understood that the council aims to have buses using Tanner Street and Friarsgate, and could mean an end of them using part of Winchester High Street and turning into Middle Brook Street, where there has a number of incidents with pedestrians.

The long-term future of the station is unclear. Stagecoach, the main local operator, has no interest in owning a station and under the first Silver Hill proposals the station was to have been replaced by parking bays on Friarsgate along with some facilities for passengers.

City councillor Ian Tait welcomes the changes and believes they will improve safety.

Cllr Tait said: "Going back nine to ten years there was a fatality but buses would still go the the same way.

"I have said that having the buses going through a semi-pedestrianised part of Winchester is dangerous and it does not create a good atmosphere.

"Re-routing the buses will have significant benefits and it could mean that the market could move further down and be more central.

"Overall I think it is going to make so much difference to have the buses not going up the High Street but using Tanner Street and Friarsgate.

Hampshire County Council is set to fund the addition of real-time bus indicators on the bus stops in the Interim Bus Interchange.

The council says changes will be on an interim basis and will not constrain further consideration of buses and routes in the city centre as part of engagement work being undertaken by architects JTP, Hampshire County Council’s Transport Study or the Central Winchester Regeneration Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).