Plea to retain vital village bus service

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A PLEA has been made to cash-strapped county council chiefs not to remove subsidy for a vital bus service which covers one of north Northumberland’s most remote communities.

Kirknewton parish councillor Edward Brown told the Area Committee North that the once-a-week round-trip which links his village and other hamlets in the Cheviot foothills to Wooler was a lifeline for many residents.

“It’s only a small bus but it is used by 10-to-12 regular users, some of whom have changed appointments with doctors and other services to fit in with the timetable,” he said.

“Several are non-drivers and this service allows them to retain some independence. They also use the cafes in Wooler which assists the town in the non-tourist season.”

Local councillor Anthony Murray said: “We have worked long and hard on this service and I have made it very plain that it is a vital one and well-used.

“It has made a huge difference in this heart of rural Northumberland and I will work very hard to ensure it is maintained.”

Coun Gordon Castle, who is chairman of the Bus Subsidy Working Group, said: “This request will be considered when the group looks at how best to target what limited funds we have got.”