I WOULD like to thank you for highlighting my concerns regarding the rural north in last week’s Gazette.
May I just correct one impression I may have implied. I do not support the community forums. These were set up by the unitary council and involved a department at County Hall which cost the council tax payers a considerable amount of money.
In my area, we found a different solution. Five parish councils set up the Mid-Coquet Cluster, which is run at a local level and gives the residents an opportunity to choose the topics they wish to discuss and then have a public meeting with the people who make the decisions. The last one looked at transport and was attended by more than 70 members of the public.
In addition to our MP, we also had representation from county and Arriva Buses.
We achieved a very good outcome, with an extra bus service running on a Monday and Thursday; but as you stated, the work on the A1 coincided with its introduction on November 30 and sabotaged the operation. The service now looks likely to be swept away in the new time-tabling. Thank you Highways Agency.
I still believe the cluster is an extremely good voice for the community and we will continue to pursue the inequalities being imposed on the residents in the northern rural areas.