A COACH firm is no longer stopping at Colchester Bus Station after concerns were raised by drivers about safety.

National Express said it had taken the decision as a precaution.

Instead people hoping to catch the bus will have to travel to the East Hill coach stop, a ten minute walk away.

Bus campaigner Peter Kay says the station, in Osborne Street and Stanwell Street, cannot handle the volume of buses it now serves.

He said: “National Express told the First office in mid January they would no longer be using the station from February 10, having decided it is not safe due to having to pick up in the road.

"There are a mix of people who use these services, from students to older people and people who cannot afford a train fare.

“This is the first time we have had an operator confirm that the bus station is not fit for use.”

Mr Kay said the number of bus services using the station had grown since it opened in 2012, but there is no room to expand.

National Express coach services between London and Clacton, Ipswich and Heathrow, and Felixstowe and London previously stopped at the station.

“Any intelligent person building a new bus station leaves a percentage of spare space for possible future increases,” said Mr Kay.

“The previous bus station was closed on a whim and when the St Botolph’s masterplan came out it didn’t have a bus station on it.

“Because of this there isn’t really anything the county council can do in terms of capacity. Where it is now, it is simply not future proof.”

A National Express spokeswoman said: “The National Express Colchester stop for the 250, 481 and 484 services relocated from Stanwell Street at the bus station to East Hill on February 10.

"The decision was made as a precautionary measure following feedback from our drivers and a review that highlighted issues relating to access.

“Our planning team worked closely with Essex County Council to identify the best alternative location which is less than half a mile away.”

A county council spokesman confirmed officers worked with the coach firm to find the best drop off point for passengers.

A Colchester Council spokesman added: “The moving of the bus station happened many years ago.

“We are now working with a wide range of partners on a host of initiatives around the town centre to unlock economic growth and transport will play a key part of turning our ambitions into reality.”