Arriva officially ends Coast and Castles bus service from centre of Beadnell after damage to church wall - bosses blame traffic congestion and inconsiderate parking

Arriva has withdrawn its Coast and Castles bus service from the centre of a Northumberland village.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 27th February 2020, 4:00 pm
An Arriva X18 Coast and Castles bus at Craster. Picture by Iain Robson

The decision has been made because of problems getting the X18 bus through the congested centre of Beadnell, especially in the summer season.

The issue was brought to a head in October when a bus collided with a church wall while trying to get through a narrow gap, causing over £10,000 damage.

Nick Knox, area managing director, said: “We made the decision to reroute service X18 from the centre of Beadnell village, which came into effect on January 5, to reduce delays caused by congestion and blockages to buses caused by inconsiderate parking.

The X18 is now picking up from a new bus stop at The Bullring in Beadnell.

“We are aware that parking measures have been implemented to try to reduce the effects of inconsiderate parking in this area, and while we will not be making any further changes at this time we will continue to monitor the situation.

“This service will now stop on Harbour Road to ensure that residents are still able to access reliable and convenient public transportation.”

A service update on the Arriva North East website adds: ‘This service will be withdrawn from the centre of Beadnell village to reduce delays caused by traffic congestion and inconsiderate parking.

‘Buses travelling towards both Alnwick and Berwick-upon-Tweed will serve a new stop on Harbour Road near the junction with the B1340.

‘As a result, there will be minor alterations to the timetable between Embleton, Beadnell and Seahouses.’

At the time, he said: “We have been struggling with delays to our buses because of heavy traffic and obstructions in the village over a period of years.

“That was partly because of parking but also because of general congestion. We are running buses which are 11.9m long x 2.5m wide because we have to for capacity reasons.

“Sometimes drivers will try to squeeze through but at other times drivers will sometimes have to wait 20 or 30 minutes.

“We had a nastier incident early in October involving the church wall which caused several thousand pounds worth of damage to one of our vehicles. At that point we decided we needed to take some action.

“We are still committed to the village but spoke to Northumberland County Council where we told them we would have to find an alternative way around the village. We talked about missing out the stops in the centre of the village and turning around in a loop at the Bullring and we took that proposal to the council.”

The new route came into effect on Sunday, January 5.

The decision was taken before parking restrictions were extended last month.

Parish council chair Alison Nation felt bus drivers would now notice a difference and called on Arriva to reconsider its decision.

Concerns were also raised that elderly bus passengers would now have to walk further to get to the centre of the village.

Travelsure will continue to operate its bus services through the village.