Maidstone Bus Station has re-opened and is welcoming customers back to a safer, brighter and refurbished space with new fire safety equipment, improved CCTV and lighting. Bus services are expected to resume later this month but no exact date has been given.
The new look station has been modernised and the area opened up by removing glass block walls, installing new public wayfinding signage, street furniture, benches and service information boards which will contribute to increasing the safety of customers. The new facilities will also improve the vitality and viability of the county town, providing a modern and well cared-for place with excellent public transport facilities.
Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) has worked with Kent County Council, Arriva, NuVenture and the owners of the Mall Shopping Centre to refurbish and improve the bus station. Pedestrian access to the bus station resumed two days ago.
The deputy mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Derek Mortimer officially opened the bus station. He says: “We are really pleased that the new bus station has fulfilled the improvements raised from our public consultations and more.
“Customers can now enjoy the welcome feel that the space offers alongside security in a more open, safe environment.
“Thousands of users come through the bus station each week and we want them to see the commitment we’ve made to public transport as part of our aim to keep the county town thriving and sustainable.”Deputy mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Derek Mortimer
Following a public consultation undertaken from July to September 2020, customers prioritised the need for ‘improved lighting’, ‘refurnishing floors in pedestrian areas’, ‘new bus signage and timetable information’ along with ‘new benches and seating.’
The changes made
The improvement work carried out cost £1.4m and included:
- Upgrade of the fire safety features including installation of a new sprinkler system
- Upgrade of entire lighting system, including addition of new architectural lighting
- Replacement of pedestrian floor surfaces with bespoke tiles and block paving
- Removal of glass walls between the concourse and road
- Installation of new metal architectural balustrades and access portals
- Repair and resurfacing of existing carriageway throughout
- Installation of high specification public convenience street furniture, including bins and benches
- Installation of new public wayfinding signage
- Upgrade of the public announcement system
Cllr Mortimer adds: “It is great to see these improvements come to fruition as another jewel in the county crown for Maidstone. There are many projects in the pipeline to continue improving the town and this is a great example of the public and local authority working together to get the best result. Thank you to everyone who contributed their feedback.”
In addition to the improvement work, a colourful mural wall (main picture) was created with funding by an Arts Council England grant. Maidstone street artist Graham Upton led youngsters from a local youth group to produce the colourful display depicting the town’s varied history. Included in this is a tribute piece to Maidstone’s own late artist Tony Hart who hosted several BBC arts programmes.