Christchurch is bidding to achieve Coach Friendly status. The Dorset town reintroduced parking for three coaches in 2020 and further work towards accreditation will now begin after a preliminary audit took place at a stakeholders’ meeting on 27 July.
Present at that gathering were John Burch of the Confederation of Passenger Transport; Cllr Mike Greene and John McVey of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council; David Squire, Chair of the Transport Sector of the Destination Management Board and Managing Director of Bournemouth-based Yellow Buses and Yellow Coaches; and Sue Harmon-Smith and Tim Lloyd of the Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
Ms Harmon-Smith was formerly Christchurch’s Tourism Manager. She says: “Coach travel has always been very important to this town’s economy. We are delighted that we can now offer dedicated coach parking to further enhance the town’s offering.
“It is not only the attractions that will benefit, but also all of those within the hospitality sector such as hotels and restaurants. This will give the travel trade a much-needed boost.”
Adds Cllr Greene, who is Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability: “A great deal of work has gone into reintroducing coach parking for Christchurch to enable visitors to our historic town. We hope that this is the start of an exciting enterprise that provides a greener way for visitors to travel and enjoy our hospitality.”
Within the BCP unitary authority area both Bournemouth and Poole are already accredited with Coach Friendly status and the aim is to align Christchurch with those towns. Mr Burch has made recommendations on how that work can be progressed.
Add Mr Squire: “It is wonderful to have coach parking facilities back in Christchurch town centre following the loss of the bays at Mayors Mead. This helps us to support our vision to bring tourists into Christchurch will all its attractions and numerous hospitality businesses.
“It is also a very green method of travel, with up to 40 fewer cars on the road over any given time.” The new coach bays are at Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre, BH23 1HW.