New approach planned for Swanage’s transport hub

Work has been approved to make Station Approach in the middle of Swanage town centre in Dorset, more pedestrian and wheelchair friendly.

Buses, cars, taxis, train users, Co-op shoppers and doctors’ surgery patients currently all compete for space across the forecourt area but now there’s a plan to make it safer for pedestrians with more accessible pathways.

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Station approach

It was hoped that the pavement could be widened or the bus shelters moved to make it easier for pedestrians but that was found to be too logistically difficult

Number of safety concerns

In 2022, highway consultants WSP was commissioned by Dorset Council, on behalf of Swanage Town Council to undertake a pedestrian safety feasibility study of Station Approach and to provide recommendations for improvements.

The land is owned by Swanage Town Council with the Co-op, Swanage Medical Practice and Swanage Railway all leaseholders.

The report found a number of safety issues:

“Overall, the pedestrian experience within Station Approach is very poor. With a hodgepodge of surface finishes, undulations, maintenance patching, trench reinstatements, and kerbline inconsistencies.

“General footway widths and routes are also substandard. Creating an uneven surface with many different textures and shades of material, without direct line of sight to required destinations.

“All of which can be uncomfortable and off-putting to many people, especially those with sight and mobility considerations.”

Station approach

There is currently no drop kerb from the Blue Badge parking spaces to get onto the pavement

Station approach

To get to the medical practice, rather than use the pavement, wheelchair users have to go on the road until there is a drop kerb by the medical practice’s entrance

Work estimated to cost £120,000

While the finances won’t stretch to a complete redesign of Station Approach, the town council is now poised to start work to improve the area, estimated to cost £120,000.

One of the biggest issues is the positioning of the bus shelters outside Swanage station which means that it’s hard to navigate the bus queue when trying to get between Station Road and the Co-op. 

However the highway planners decided that the bus stops would be unable to be relocated without compromising the Blue Badge spaces and taxi rank opposite, or scaling back the size of the shelters and their ability to shield people from the wind and rain.

The newly formed Accessible Swanage group was invited to scrutinise the plans with highway planners at a site visit and though more couldn’t be done to resolve the pinch point around the bus stops, other suggestions from the group were able to be incorporated into the scheme.

Station approach

The new scheme will widen the pavement in front of the stationmaster’s house and lockable bollards will be installed to prevent general parking in the loading bay area

Station approach

The pedestrian route will be highlighted with red surfacing and tactile paving

Main new features

  • Red surfacing and tactile paving at pavement edge marking an informal crossing at the eastern end of the area
  • Red surfacing marking continuous footways crossing the entrance/exits to the Co-op and the medical centre
  • The addition of dropped kerb access for people using the disabled parking bays in order that wheelchair users do not have to be in the road to access the medical centre
  • An additional access zone adjacent to the last disabled bay before the taxi bays. This will mean adjusting the taxi parking and losing one bay from the current total
  • At the eastern end, new kerbs and resurfacing of the footways
  • Installation of socketed bollards to a small section of the footway to restrict access to the loading and unloading area for permitted vehicles only
Station approach

While not offering a completely accessible route for pedestrians and wheelchair users, the work should make a significant improvement

Station approach

The no entry to the one way system will be made much more obvious to help stop vehicles going in the out!

Completion planned by spring 2025

Due to the access requirements of the taxis, buses and vehicles using the car park, the construction will require nightworking.

The work is anticipated to be quite disruptive, so it’s not going to take place during the busy summer months but is planned to be completed by spring 2025.

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