Sudbury Bus Station pre-planning consultation

We consulted on design proposals for a new and improved bus station in Sudbury.

This consultation has now closed.

In view of the feedback about the proposal to move the bus station from its present location in Hamilton Road to a new site at the car park in Girling Street, it has been decided to withdraw the current planning application.  The bus station proposals will now be considered afresh.

Sudbury Bus Station proposed design

Suffolk County Council is proposing to build a new and improved bus station in Sudbury.

The bus station would be relocated to Girling Street Car Park and this would enable the land at the existing bus station to be redeveloped to provide a stronger retail, business and leisure offer for Sudbury.

This is a pre-planning consultation, to get views on the design of the scheme before a formal planning application is submitted. 

You can click the links below to view the proposed designs for Sudbury Bus Station:

Have your say

The deadline for consultation responses was 5pm, Tuesday 25 October.

What happens next? - updated 16 December 2016 

In view of the feedback about the proposal to move the bus station from its present location in Hamilton Road to a new site at the car park in Girling Street, it has been decided to withdraw the current planning application.  The bus station proposals will now be considered afresh.

Additional information

Following further investigation into the two final options, a car park capacity survey, and additional consultation with bus operators, Babergh District Council and the Sudbury Steering Group, a single location at Girling Street Car Park was identified as the final preferred option. 

A single site would be easier to manage, and offers an accessible bus station right in the town centre, close to North Street shops and the market.

Although Girling Street is further away from the Railway Station, the proposed bus station is still only 680m walking distance (9 minutes walking distance at a normal pace), which is around 5 minutes’ extra walk time in comparison to the current bus station.

The proposed option of a new bus station on Girling Street would:

  • Fully enable the regeneration of the Hamilton Road Quarter and Sudbury town centre
  • Provide 6 bus stands and bays 
  • Offer improved customer waiting areas and facilities, including public toilets
  • Provide CCTV cameras for security and safety 
  • Retain current disabled parking bays 
  • Provide dedicated cycle parking and delivery bays 
  • Retain existing private accesses to neighbouring properties
  • Provide opportunities for improved bus routing
  • Offer an improved layout for better bus manoeuvring
  • Reconfigure the site entry and exit for safer operation

Car parking surveys carried out on a range of days and times (including weekends and market days) indicate that current levels of parking demand could still be accommodated with the loss of the Girling Street Car Park.

Bus operators have been consulted and favour a ‘drive through’ layout, as opposed to a ‘drive in reverse out’ layout for the bus station. The designs include planting and vegetation to provide greenery and to shield neighbouring properties that currently overlook the car park.

The new bus station would offer pedestrians and cyclists direct access onto North Street, and a pedestrian crossing would also be provided.

Why move Sudbury Bus Station?

  • Delivering a stronger retail, business and leisure offer, for example a hotel and cinema, is part of Babergh District Council’s vision for Sudbury.
  • This vision would help to attract visitors, strengthen businesses and provide new jobs.
  • The Hamilton Road Quarter is a key part of this, and Babergh District Council has invested almost £5m in buying land to drive this redevelopment.
  • To offer these opportunities for the town to grow the bus station needs to move
  • Developers are simply not interested in investing in the area whilst the bus station is still there.
  • Suffolk County, Babergh and Sudbury Town Councils have all agreed the need to find an alternative location.

 Which alternative locations have been considered?

  • In July 2015 an engagement exercise was held which exhibited the following options:
    • Improve the existing site on Hamilton Road
    • Replace bus station with on-street stops on Kings Street
    • Access off Great Eastern Road
    • Off Station Road, next to leisure centre
    • Land adjacent to the rail station
    • Girling Street Car Park
    • Split location Great Eastern Road and Girling Street Car Park
    • Following engagement events and a public meeting, as well as appraisals of each option, these options were reviewed and three options put forward:
      • Option A – Girling Street & Great Eastern Road Split Option
      • Option B – Drive in, reverse out Layout Girling Street
      • Option C – Drive through layout Girling Street

 Why Girling Street?

  • By relocating the bus station it opens up the opportunity for Hamilton Road to be redeveloped.
  • The July 2015 consultation indicated that local people clearly wanted a single bus station site, not a split site – Girling Street would provide this.
  • Girling Street is located close to the town centre and the main shopping area of North Street
  • The site is large enough to accommodate the drive through design preferred by operators, and the number of bus stands needed for future growth.
  • The site would provide opportunities to the bus operators to consider new route options that would not require buses to use the one-way system on some routes.
  • It scored highly for ‘quality for users’ and giving accessibility to the town centre.
  • Any increase in bus mileage has the potential to be reduced by revised bus routing.
  • The site also allows space for waiting, toilet facilities and passenger information.
  • This option has the support of bus operators, and is an option that can be delivered at a lower relative cost than other options.


What about Girling Street Car Park?

  • Babergh District Council manage or own more than 1000 parking spaces in Sudbury. These are a mix of long and short stay, disabled, mother and toddler, and motorcycle spaces, plus 12 coach and lorry bays.
  • 705 of these spaces are in the Great Eastern Road and Station Road area, and in addition Waitrose has its own large shoppers car park.
  • A 11-day survey of car park use at Girling Street, The Station, Station Road (Kingfisher) Gt Eastern Road (Roys) and North Street in September 2015 revealed the overall average parking bay occupancy for the five car parks was 63%. 
  • During the highest peak time recorded, a Thursday Market day, the car park use tipped 94% for a single one-hour period between 11 am to 12 noon.
  • This indicates that there is sufficient capacity to mitigate the loss of around 70 spaces in Girling Street across the other car parks in Sudbury.
  • Additional car parking surveys are being carried out and the results of this will be included in the formal planning application.
  • Blue badge holder disabled parking would be retained on the Girling Street site.


What about bus routes, including traffic flow, noise and air quality?

  • Discussions have taken place throughout this process with bus operators and they support the move to Girling Street.
  • Suffolk County Council will undertake noise and air quality assessments as part of the detailed design scheme work; these will form part of the planning process. 
  • New bus stops will be considered as part of the Hamilton Road Quarter redevelopment.
  • Compared to the current site, Girling Street offers bus companies the potential to consider new route options that would not require buses to use the one-way system on some of their routes.


Why not have the bus station near the railway station?

  • Site surveys as part of the initial options study identified that very few people currently travel between the bus and rail station to connect between different public transport services.
  • Observations of movements between Sudbury Bus Station and Sudbury Railway Station at peak periods indicated that most people were walking or cycling to the Rail Station from other areas of town, not from the Bus Station.
  • New bus stops will be considered as part of the Hamilton Road Quarter redevelopment, these would provide closer facilities for rail users.
  • A new bus station in Girling Street site would only be an extra 330m/360yrd (equivalent to 4 minutes’ walk) from the rail station, in comparison to the existing bus station.



Click the links below to view maps of walking times and distances from the current bus station in Hamilton Road and the proposed bus station in Girling Street:

The site of the current bus station has been earmarked for development as part of the regeneration of the Hamilton Road Quarter. Suffolk County Council has appointed WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff to provide transport planning advice and to design a new bus station in Sudbury Town Centre.

WSP| Parsons Brinckerhoff has been supporting Suffolk County Council to assess the options for a bus station in Sudbury since 2014, including technical work and consultation with stakeholder groups.

The following tasks have been carried out as part of the process:

  • Observations of bus users and bus operations
  • Bus Stand allocation and utilisation reviews
  • Consultation with Babergh District Council, bus operators and the Sudbury Steering Group
  • Development of a list of seven options for locations of a possible new bus station
  • Appraisal of locations and broad design concepts
  • Study of expected growth in Sudbury and future bus requirements

Based on these elements the following seven options were identified and assessed:

  • Option 1 – Improving the existing bus station
  • Option 2 – On-street bus station on King Street
  • Option 3 – New bus station off Great Eastern Road
  • Option 4 – Off Station Road (Kingfisher Car Park)
  • Option 5 – Adjacent to the Railway Station
  • Option 6 – Girling Street Car Park
  • Option 7 – Split option (Girling Street Car Park and on-street on Great Eastern Road)

Considerations for selecting a proposed location included:

  • Accessibility
  • Site availability and location
  • Space for six bus stands – to accommodate current demand and future growth 
  • Bus operation requirements and opportunities 
  • Sudbury Town Centre regeneration opportunity

These options were included within a wider town centre engagement in July 2015 led by Babergh District Council. As part of this, Sudbury Steering Group’s preferred option was a split bus station on two sites (Option 7). Feedback identified that respondents were against a split site, preferring a single site option. The key concern identified with the split option was the difficulties for passengers to catch connecting bus services.


Following this first round of engagement, and being mindful of the public concerns, we concluded that a single site option should join the spilt site option for further consideration. Sudbury Steering Group agreed on two options for further investigation work:

  • Single Location at Girling Street Car Park
  • Split Option between Girling Street Car Park and on-street on Great Eastern Road

Other ways to take part in the consultation