Battle of bus shelters ends

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THE battle of the bus shelters in Newbiggin is over after town councillors agreed to take them over from the county.

They were advised that if they refused, no money would be spent on local shelters as the county council drops some responsibilities it inherited from the abolished districts.

In rural parts of Northumberland bus shelters are already looked after by parish councils, but the south east of the county has so far held out.

Coun Will Rogers said: “Surely the county council are going to come to their senses eventually and realise they have to come to a compromise for these services ... people aren’t going to give up and pay twice for all these services.”

He suggested talking about a hand over next year and said there were more immediate priorities, such as clearing dirty blown sand from the playground at the seafront.

Town council clerk Dennis Earl told last Wednesday’s meeting at the sports centre: “If you don’t accept this proposal, I think nothing will happen to this town’s bus shelters for the foreseeable future.”

Coun Rogers asked: “Is the county going to do this with every service?”

Coun Alan Thompson, a Liberal Democrat county executive member, replied: “Are we going to be a talking shop or are we going to be a town council that does things?”

He also said he had researched buying new shelters for Woodhorn Road.

But Labour county councillor Jimmy Lang asked from the public gallery if Coun Thompson was going to declare an interest as part of the executive.

Coun Malcolm Peden said: “Politics – it stops everything happening.”

In the vote, Coun Thompson abstained and Coun Rogers voted against but the motion to accept responsibility for bus shelters was carried.