Bus operators to be invited for talks on how to help reduce traffic congestion on Northumberland coast

Talks are planned with bus operators to see if a scheme can be developed to relieve traffic congestion on the Northumberland coast.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:00 am

They are keen to avoid a repeat of scenes last summer when the high volume of staycation visitors caused chaos at peak periods.

While such a scheme will not be in place in time for this summer, the idea is being investigated by the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership.

An Arriva bus in Craster.

AONB officer Iain Robson, speaking at a recent coastal summit of key stakeholders, said: “I will set up a meeting in the autumn with Arriva and Travelsure, the two main operators on the coast, and the county council’s public transport team and we’ll look at how we can work with what we’ve got in terms of the 418 and X18 rather than compete with the commercial services.”

Cllr John Roper, chairman of Newton By The Sea Parish Council, hoped it could lead to the restoration of bus services there.

He explained that one of the village’s two bus services was cut due to congestion issues several years ago but a new car park and on-street parking restrictions had resolved those issues.

"If we could get that bus service back it would be fantastic for the residents and visitors,” he said.

Craster Parish Council chairman Martin Smith expressed concern about the lack of coach parking provision in the village.

He suggested a shuttle bus could service areas which coaches are too big to access, with passengers dropped off at one end and picked up at the other.

"It would reduce the issue of coaches in the various locations,” he said.

Paul Jones, director of local services at Northumberland County Council, admitted: “Coach parking is a really difficult one.

"When we were looking at developing the extension to the Craster Quarry car park that was one of the issues raised. We were successful in securing the additional capacity but if we had put coach parking in there you would actually have reduced it quite significantly because of the turning circles for those larger vehicles.”

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