A CITY councillor has rubbished Extinction Rebellion's claims over the latest Silver Hill plans.

In a statement, the climate group said the council has decided to have on-street bus stops rather than a bus interchange.

A new bus station had been one of the popular demands from the public over the revamp of the city centre. The car park on Middle Brook Street had been often proposed as the site of the new bus station.

At a cabinet meeting yesterday, Cllr Martin Tod said on-street bus stops will be temporary whilst the area is being redeveloped.

Clarifying the situation, he today told the Chronicle: "Extinction Rebellion has got this one wrong. This is an interim solution to allow redevelopment of central Winchester to start.

"We’ve not said anywhere that we’re scrapping plans for a bus hub. But whatever happens, we’re not just going to have a bus hub and nothing else. We don’t have that now. Why would we want it in the future?

"Their suggestion that we should scrap the most popular bus stops in the city is bonkers. As one of the bus operators said in their response to the original SPD for Central Winchester – 'buses cannot simply have one point of boarding and alighting in the city centre'."

The Extinction Rebellion Winchester statement says that on-street bus stop provision is "a very ill-considered plan".

It adds that it would mean: "Long and confusing walks between stops when interchanging, affecting the elderly and less mobile; no safe, weather-proof environment to wait for buses; streets such as Tanner; Middlebrook and Silverhill will still not be traffic-free, so air quality, particularly particulate matter, and safety will be compromised; the ability to transition to electric buses will be more costly and complex; bus stops squeezed in every location conceivable.

"In the face of the climate emergency, the modal shift to public transport as well as active travel are vital means of reducing our carbon footprint.

"This can only be achieved by investing in a modern, efficient bus network with a safe, integrated bus interchange.

"This opportunity must not be lost, and bus users in Winchester must not be disregarded yet again. We ask that the council takes note of the related 38 degrees petition that now has 275 signatures and reconsiders its current position on bus provision, undertaking comprehensive and meaningful analysis, fully integrated with the outcomes of the Movement Strategy."

Responding to Cllr Tod, James Miller, from Extinction Rebellion, said: "The council has got this wrong, the needs of bus passengers have been completely overlooked, as has the desperate need to promote public transport in the face of the climate emergency.  We're not for a moment saying that there shouldn't be any on-street provision, but we are saying that passengers deserve a safe, integrated bus hub, not 12 pretty bus stops slotted into every conceivable location.  And we're also saying this should be a priority right now rather than something that might happen in the future if the stars are aligned. "