Alnwick is an attractive town with many great features, but residents and visitors alike are sure to put the bus station at the bottom of the list.
While there are a variety of factors which make direct comparisons difficult, such as ownership, availability of sites and funding, many will look at the facilities elsewhere and ask why Alnwick has fared so badly.
Many critics of Alnwick’s bus station often point to the terminal at Morpeth, which has central heating, toilets and information screens, while the building also houses a newsagent and the Morpeth Larder, a café and food store.
But this facility was opened in 2009 as the first completed phase of the £32million Sanderson Arcade project. It is owned by Dransfield Properties, as part of the adjacent shopping centre, whose staff monitor it.
However, it is not just private money that has been invested in bus stations in Northumberland.
In November 2016, buses started rolling off the five new stands in Hexham following a £2.28million investment, funded by Northumberland County Council and a £300,000 grant from the North East Rural Growth Network’s Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund.
The new station provides modern facilities, including an enclosed waiting area, toilets, refreshments and travel information, while the building features natural sandstone, glass windows with stained panelling, wooden seating and planting areas.
Ashington is another town which is due to get a new bus station as part of the major overhaul of the town centre based on the Portland Park redevelopment, which was due to be home to the new HQ of the county council before the new administration pulled the plug on that plan.
But for now, the temporary bus station has recently closed, with the bus stops being relocated onto Poundstretcher Way and Woodhorn Road.
But perhaps residents and passengers in Alnwick should look north, to Berwick, where the bus station was knocked down about 20 years ago and has never been replaced.
The main stop is at Golden Square (just over the Royal Tweed Bridge on the way into the town, pictured below), although many Arriva services start and end at the railway station.