Bus shelter will be removed to curb nuisance

Gordon Castle and the Howling Lane bus shelter.
Gordon Castle and the Howling Lane bus shelter.

Residents living just yards from a bus shelter plagued by anti-social behaviour have persuaded town councillors to have it removed.

A petition signed by 13 householders was presented to Alnwick Town Council where, on Thursday, members debated what they should do with the perspex-walled structure at Howling Lane.

Residents had the backing of Northumbria Police, which reported a surge in complaints about youths gathering, kicking footballs against the panels and playing loud music on mobile phones.

Craig Brown, whose front door is just six yards from the shelter, said: “This has gone on for years and we can’t stand it any more.”

Coun Gordon Castle said: “There’s always a reluctance for the council to give way to anti-social behaviour, but there could be a solution to meet this half way without removing the shelter, perhaps by replacing the perspex with board.”

Coun Ken Gray said: “There is absolutely no reason for anyone to be playing football there, when there is a refurbished pitch nearby. This shelter has also been a hive for people taking drugs.”

Coun Sue Allcroft added: “We should be coming down on the side of those who are having to put up with this behaviour.”

But Coun Rachael Roberts said the loss of the shelter could have an impact on elderly bus-users. She said: “We have heard that it’s causing a large amount of distress, but as a council we have a responsibility to try to maintain services. I do have some concerns that we might not have consulted everyone in that area.”

Coun Ken Moore said: “I have every sympathy with residents there and I’m sure that anyone using that shelter will know when the buses are due and be there for a matter of minutes before the bus arrives.”

Coun Castle added: “I’m minded to agree that this has gone far enough but we need to see how much the shelter is being used.”

However, put to the vote, it was agreed to remove the shelter as soon as possible.