PLANS to introduce a new bus service to include a busy Colchester retail park have left residents divided.

Shoppers could soon be able to travel to Stane Park by public transport with First Bus reportedly looking into establishing a potential bus route which will include a stop at the multi-million-pound retail complex.

However, the plans are causing a divide among supporters and those who are concerned it will only add to the

Stane Park, which began work in 2020 and saw its final business move in last year, has been popular with residents since it opened.

Despite this, some have raised concerns about the lack of accessibility to and from the site, namely in the form of public transport.

Stanway councillor Jeremy Hagon has called for First Essex’s S2 route, which operates between Stanway, Colchester city centre and Highwoods, to be extended to take those riding the route to the Stane Park area.

Gazette: Call - Stanway councillor Jeremey Hagon has suggested the S2 bus be changed to include Stane ParkCall - Stanway councillor Jeremey Hagon has suggested the S2 bus be changed to include Stane Park (Image: Public)

Colchester councillor Martin Goss has also confirmed he has been in discussion with the bus company over a potential bus route which will include a stop at Stane Park.

Mr Goss said adding the stop is “important”, with non-drivers being “secluded from visiting and shopping” at the site.

Some Gazette readers agreed.

Hannah James said: “A bus route is a step forward, but the reality is the retail park was designed around driving so the needs of pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities, have not been considered.”

Cynthia Tearle added it would be a “good idea”, saying: “There are lots of people who don't drive, and when the elderly want to give up their driving licence they can and not worry that they are going to be stuck indoors.”

Meanwhile, Joan Weatherley said she would “visit more if there was public transport”.

However, one of the main talking points over Stane Park throughout its construction and since its opening has been the traffic woes.

Gazette: Welcome - the entrance to Stane Retail ParkWelcome - the entrance to Stane Retail Park (Image: Newsquest)

Drivers have found themselves stuck in long queues in and around the area, with police even having to manage traffic in the past.

Karen Collins said: “We need a bus route to there but with the traffic like it is it will be horrendous.”

Andy Wilkinson said buses were a “good idea” but would only “add to the traffic problem”.

He added: “The traffic system is the problem. Only one lane in and one out for what is a popular retail park with Aldi, Sainsbury, M&S, B&Q, Argos.

And if coming out of the Aldi side you have to turn right to head back to this side of the A12. So, the roundabout that joins all traffic, to and from is mad.”

Carole Summer joked if the bus would “sprout wings and fly above the congested vehicles”.

In an email response to Mr Goss, seen by the Gazette, First said the request for a stop to be introduced at Stane Park has been “passed across to a scheduling representative”.

“We will now look at this internally and any changes we make will be posted on our website and in the timetable”, the company said.