Edinburgh Council enters talks with bus station owners

Monday April 29th 2024

Edinburgh Bus Station outside

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

Edinburgh Bus Station’s owners have entered talks with the council over the future of the city centre transport hub.

Representatives from Coal Pension Properties reached out to local authority bosses last week following reports it may not continue leasing the station beyond 2027 and could seek to redevelop the St Andrew Square site.

Transport convener Scott Arthur said the firm was “open to renewing the lease,” although it is understood that their proposed terms would likely not be acceptable to the council.

“Being open to renewing the lease isn’t the same as the terms being possible for the council to accept in terms of cost and perhaps other restrictions that comes with,” Cllr Arthur said in a video posted on social media.

He admitted the bus station “may be lost” if a new deal is not struck and said officials were mulling over options to relocate it elsewhere in the city centre, which it’s expected will be presented to councillors later this year.

According to sources other options being considered include attempting to purchase the site. However, the pension fund’s asking price is likely to be too high for the council and using a compulsory purchase order could prove legally difficult as it would need to be demonstrated there was no alternative to the purchase.

Despite the looming uncertainty, Cllr Arthur said the talks were “a starting point” for negotiations.

“They are reviewing their options,” he said. “Personally, I have a pension and I expect that pension to invest sustainably so if it was my pension fund thinking about demolishing a bus station and perhaps replacing it with something like a hotel I wouldn’t think that reflected my values or the values of my pension fund.

“It does not seem like the best decision to make in 2024 in the middle of a climate emergency.”

He added: “In parallel to those negotiations, I think it’s really important the council takes it quite seriously.

“I think the buses that currently come into the city centre do need to have a place where they can come right into the city centre and where the drivers can access welfare facilities because that’s a big part of what the bus station provides.”

Coal Pension Properties were contacted for comment.

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