Safety concerns for bus passengers, after months of violence and anti-social behaviour at a bus station waiting room, has led to an announcement of its closure.
Since March, police have been called to multiple incidents including fighting, at the waiting room area at Bury St Edmunds Bus Station.
While police have increased patrols and issued dispersal orders, the problems have persisted.
Now West Suffolk Council, which manages the building, has announced that the waiting room will close from 1 November but the public toilets will remain open.
Cllr David Taylor, Cabinet Member for Operations at the Council, said: “I’ve no doubt that sitting in that bus station waiting room with punch ups and other violence taking place can not only be extremely intimidating, but can cause many people fear and anxiety.
“The council has a legal duty to the safety of anyone using our buildings and to take necessary action where we can to address any problems that arise.
“West Suffolk Council has been working to support the police in dealing with ongoing issues of fighting, anti-social behaviour, shoplifting and criminal damage at the waiting room since March this year.
“Our own CCTV room has alerted police to incidents and provided evidence. And the police have told us they’ve been carrying out regular patrols of the area and issued dispersal orders.
“But sadly, the issues have continued. That is why, with a heavy heart I have made the decision to close the waiting room. We will, however, keep the public toilets open and we will continue to do all that we can to support Suffolk Constabulary in tackling these incidents.”
Bury St Edmunds police inspector Andy Beeby, said: “Suffolk Constabulary have been investigating a number of incidents at the Bus and Coach station in Bury St Edmunds since March 2023.
“Subsequently, officers have been conducting regular patrols in the area and have put dispersal orders in place.
“Reports of fighting, shoplifting, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour have all persisted, and we want to ensure our community feels safe and confident in reporting this issue to us. We do not under-estimate the negative impact it has on residents, including their mental well-being.
“The responsibility for dealing with anti-social behaviour is shared between several agencies, particularly the police, councils, and housing providers and so Suffolk Constabulary have been working closely with West Suffolk Council on this matter to find a sustainable solution.”