Northumberland bus firm will give lifts to Harbottle Surgery public meeting

Steve Hurst of Spirit Buses in Rothbury
Steve Hurst of Spirit Buses in Rothbury

A bus company which was recently handed a last-gasp reprieve has stepped in to provide transport to a crucial public meeting next week, where the controversial closure of a Northumberland surgery will be discussed.

Steve Hurst, of Rothbury-based Spirit Buses, has agreed to pick up residents from around Coquetdale and take them to Tuesday night’s forum at Clennell Hall Farm, which starts at 7.30pm.

The closed Harbottle Surgery

The closed Harbottle Surgery

The meeting has been called as part of a determined campaign by villagers and community leaders to save Harbottle Surgery. The facility shut its doors yesterday, after NHS England’s shock decision to close it.

The meeting is set to be well-attended and Spirit Buses has offered to give people a lift to the event. The news comes just days after the Gazette revealed that the company has been handed a vital lifeline, thanks to support from Northumberland County Council.

Christine Keen, from NHS England, is set to attend the meeting, as are representatives from Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, Northumbria NHS Trust, Healthwatch Northumberland, the county council, Northumberland National Park and a representative of MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Spirt Buses will be picking people up from Rothbury, Thropton, Flotterton, Sharperton, Holystone, Harbottle and Alwinton.

It is hoped that arrangements can also be made to collect residents from Snitter, Netherton and possibly Elsdon.

Writing on Facebook today, ward councillor Steven Bridgett – who has played a major part in the campaign to try to save the surgery – said: “Many thanks to Steve Hurst and Spirit Buses for agreeing to provide transport to the meeting on Tuesday night. I have managed to convince the county council to meet the cost of this – albeit out of my budget.

“I am currently working to see if I can get something covering Snitter, Netherton and possibly Elsdon.

“I just want to take the opportunity to remind residents that I am well aware that there is a lot of ‘talk’ and rumours currently being discussed about the surgery – much of it total nonsense and I will not be indulging in any of it.

“My main priority is ensuring the surgery re-opens, regardless of who is running it. So let’s wait until Tuesday night when we can hear things from the horse’s mouth and we can ask our questions in a polite and dignified manner.

“Please only use the bus services if you require it as there will be space at Clennell for car parking.”

A petition has been launched as part of the campaign to save the surgery.

THE BUS ROUTE AND TIMES

18.55: Rothbury – Phillips Newsagents.

18.57: Rothbury – The bottom of Gravelly Bank.

19.00: Thropton – Three Wheat Heads.

19.05: Flotterton – Next to the cottages.

19.10: Sharperton – Bus Stop.

19.15: Holystone – Centre of the village.

19.20: Harbottle – Bus Stop.

19.25: Alwinton – Bus Stop.

19.30: Clennell