MAJOR concerns have been raised that moving a city centre coach park could have an impact on tourism.

Durham County Council wants to move the coach park from Durham to Belmont park and ride, on the edge of the city.

It wants to move it from The Sands, where it hopes to build new headquarters, though it says the coach park proposal predate those plans.

The trade body for coaches, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), says it has “major concerns” about the loss of central coach parking space and say using Belmont would make visits to Durham less attractive.


The organisation has raised practical issues, including difficulties with “double running”, necessary for drop-offs and pick-ups, and the possibility of reducing visiting time because of the need to give drivers adequate rest, as well as the inconvenience to drivers.

Volunteer group Durham Pointers, who provide a welcome service to coaches and have greeted 6,000 passengers this year, also say it could lead to fewer trips, and have raised other practical issues including how coaches will arrange pick ups at The Sands to avoid traffic jams, increased emissions and where drivers will spend their free time.

A statement by the group said: “We have got to know some of the coach drivers and it is our impression that, if life is made too difficult for them, they will simply stop coming to Durham.

“This would be catastrophic for the city.”


Last year 4.29m people visited Durham, resulting in an £866.71m economic boost.

Sarah Robson, the council’s head of economic development, said: “Tourism is crucial to County Durham’s economy and we are fully committed to working with our partners to increase visitor numbers.

“With this in mind, we have been exploring options to improve coach parking in Durham City for many years.

“The existing site only offers space for a limited number of coaches, with no potential for expansion.

“The proposal to create a coach park at Belmont would provide improved facilities for coach companies and predates the application to build a new council headquarters at The Sands.

“Pick-up and drop-off points would remain at The Sands and we are also exploring opportunities to add other locations in the future.”