A BUS campaigner has slammed Essex County Council for making it difficult for buses to pull up safely in Colchester town centre.

Just a week after it was installed, a replacement bus shelter outside The George Hotel in Colchester High Street was hit by a bus and lost its roof.

Bus campaigner Peter Kay says it has happened before as buses cannot pull into the narrow layby properly.

He said it was becoming a danger for passengers and people waiting at the bus stop.

He said: “It was put up, only after a lot of pressure, to replace the previous one that was destroyed beyond repair some five months back after being hit by a bus and removed altogether.

“It must be obvious passengers waiting by the roadside here are themselves not in a safe situation.

“All this is due to the incompetency of and obstinacy of Essex County Council officers.”

Mr Kay said the issue of the layby has been raised before with highways officers.

He said: “More than ten years ago it was pointed out to them buses cannot get into the top of the layby properly and the built out pavement immediately before the layby needs cutting back.

“They said they would extend the layby at the bottom end instead but they have done nothing.

“Because buses have to stop at an angle this often leads to standstill traffic which cannot get past.

“It was also pointed out to council long back they could reduce the problem at no cost at all by making the layby a single stop instead of two stops, by which means the great majority of buses could stop at the bottom end but they obstinately refuse to do this.”

An Essex Highways spokesman said it is important to have distinct bus stops rather than one big layby, so there are no plans to make any changes at this time.

He added: “It is important to ensure there are distinct bus stops so people don’t have to join large queues with people waiting for several different buses, which can lead to confusion and mistakes.”

In October last year, Essex County Council introduced an overhaul of Colchester’s bus system in a bid to reduce bus traffic and air pollution.

All stops within the High Street amongst other places were reviewed. One of the main changes was the number of times buses stop in the High Street to reduce traffic outside the George Hotel.