Community bus service go-ahead

Independent candidate Roz Tinlin.

Independent candidate Roz Tinlin.

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A community transport scheme will be supported by Rothbury Parish Council, if no contributions are needed from its funds.

The parish is to lose the Thursday 813 Rothbury Motors bus service, which takes passengers from Alwinton to Alnwick via villages in the Coquet Valley and Newton on the Moor and Swarland, in October because Northumberland County Council is no longer subsidising it.

But the villages which are to lose the route are working to try to put on an alternative service so that passengers are not left stranded.

At a meeting of the parishes involved last month it was heard that a pot of money, available from Northumberland County Council, could be applied to, but it needed to be match-funded.

However at last week’s Rothbury meeting Coun Roz Tinlin said that the council would not have to stump up the cash.

“You can apply for up to £5,000 and a steering group at County Hall decides on who gets funds,” she said.

“They want services that are going to be sustainable in the future and not every scheme will be.”

Coun Steven Bridgett said he would like to see the usage figures if the council has to put money forward.

And he added that the fund to which they can apply has already been depleted as it is being administered by Adapt in Hexham.

Chairman, Coun Jeff Reynalds, said that one company has already put in a bid to run the service for £3,000 per year.

A suggestion was made that Upper Coquetdale Community Transport also put an offer in.

Coun Peter Dawson said: “Why should the people of Rothbury have to pay for a service which is used by people from other parishes?

Councillors agreed that they would support a scheme being put in place as long as they parish does not have to foot the bill.

Newton on the Moor and Swarland Parish Council is co-ordinating the plans.

When the 813 service is stopped there will be no buses going through Newton on the Moor or Swarland as Arriva has cancelled all its other routes.

Northumberland County Council has said it will work to subsidise a service if it meets certain criteria and will work with the parishes as much as they can.