RECENTLY I have made a few shopping trips between the Central Station and the Above Bar/Westquay shopping areas of Southampton. On the way, I passed the now abandoned Toys 'R' Us site.

It occurred to me that this site could be the answer to one of Southampton's great lacks – a proper bus station/transport interchange. The city council's own plans claim that a bus interchange was provided as part of the Station North project but, let's be quite frank, this is no more than a collection of bus stops. There are a few shelters, but if the weather is bad then these won't really shelter you much. And the bus stop provision is woefully inadequate – buses heading out of the city regularly get snarled up with each other, sometimes blocking the Wyndham Place/Blechynden Terrace junction.

The increased number of turning movements have also made that junction area more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists rather than safer. Many cyclists choose to cycle on the pavements rather than the road, in spite of the road allegedly being part of the National Cycle Network. The danger from turning traffic is such that I don't blame them.

So why not also answer the long-held desire by many for the city to have a "proper" bus station, with proper facilities and comfort for waiting passengers. Being right alongside the Central Station and a short walk from the main shops, the old Toys 'R' Us site seems ideal for this. The empty buildings could serve both as bus garage and passenger waiting facilities, and the car park appears to be of ideal size to accommodate the bus stands. It should be a simple matter to provide high level walkways linking the bus station with the railway station and shopping without having to cross the busy roads.

This could also improve the environment on the Blechynden Terrace side of the station. With the buses diverted to the other side, turning movements at the junction would be reduced and the carriageway widths could be narrowed, making crossing the road safer for pedestrians and providing space for safe cycling as well.

I understand that the city council has big plans to redevelop the area on the "Toys 'R' Us" side of the station. The current availability of the ex-Toys 'R' Us site seems to be an opportunity which might only come once in a generation to solve one of Southampton's long term problems and give the city a transport interchange worthy of its status as the south coast's premier city.

Steven Judd