Row breaks out over sale of minibus

A row has broken out in Belford over the sale of a school and community minibus.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 17th August 2018, 2:00 pm
Belford Middle School
Belford Middle School

The minibus was owned by Belford Middle School, which was closed last month.

It was gifted to Bell View Resource Centre but subsequently sold, which led to heated debate on the village Facebook page.

Resident Reg Carruthers, who had been interested in helping to run it for the community, has called for answers.

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“People have a right to know how the decision was made,” he said. “Belford villagers and Belford Community Group raised money so it could be used by the community as well as the school. The minibus was still in good condition. Why was it not offered to the community?”

Belford Community Group (BCG) released a statement on its website. It said: ‘BCG did not own the minibus. Due to the closure of the middle school, who owned the minibus, the first school was offered it in the first instance, which they declined, then BCG and Bell View, with a view to running it as a community bus.

‘All organisations declined to take this on due to the on-going maintenance and running costs (taking into consideration the bus’ age and condition) including public liability insurance. The school covered these costs estimated to be in the region of £3,000+ per annum.

‘The minibus was gifted to Bell View to use or re-sell to help transport isolated and elderly folk around the village. We are aware that along with parents, villagers also raised money for the bus and BCG gave a large donation as well as paying for its 12-weekly safety check.

‘The bus was originally for use by the school and then available, for free, other than petrol, for groups to book. BCG covered the cost of between six to eight drivers to be MIDAS trained to drive the minibus.’