WINCHESTER Bus Station could close in the near future, Stagecoach has warned as it loses patience over the Silver Hill scheme.

The firm has warned TIAA Henderson Real Estate that further delays could force it to close and redevelop the station, city council cabinet heard on Wednesday.

Henderson is considering reviving the 2009 version of the scheme, including the station and affordable flats which were controversially scrapped last year.

The developer has also been asked by the council to hold a public exhibition of those plans, approved in 2009.

In a letter to Henderson, Stagecoach finance chief Colin Brown said: “We have been patient for many years now. The prospect we now face of our site not being developed as hoped is a great concern to us.

“We have a business to run. Unless the scheme can progress in the near future we will need to consider closing the bus station down. We would consider redeveloping the site independently.”

The letter, read to cabinet on Wednesday, added: “Our priority will always be providing bus services in and around Winchester.”

Cllr Frank Pearson, leader of Winchester City Council, has warned a bus station would be a “white elephant”.

Hampshire Chronicle:

An artist's impression of a concourse that could replace the bus station under the scheme

Simon Eden, chief executive, reminded cabinet that Henderson or the city council can walk away from the agreement after June 1.

“After that date one of the options may be that piecemeal development — and there are all sorts of issues with that and securing the right outcome for the city.”

Kevin Warren, head of estates, warned that piecemeal development could delay regeneration over an “elongated period”.

Meanwhile, civic chiefs face calls from a new action group to scrutinise council staff who advised on key decisions.

‘Hold the Officers to Account’, formed last week, has rejected Cllr Pearson’s view that councillors should take sole responsibility for any decisions which are found to be based on bad advice.

In a statement, founder Edward Fennell said the scheme had been “disastrous”, adding: “Winchester’s heritage and history demand that the city council should adhere to the highest standards of governance and this includes accountability by its officers.”