We recently saw a picture of our MP and the county councillor for Newbiggin Central and East standing in one of our bus shelters talking about the inadequacy of these new facilities.
The previous town council recognised that some of the bus shelters were unusable and some needed refurbishment and a new one was required opposite to the old police offices.
A limited budget was agreed and it was decided to instigate arrangements to procure the bus shelters locally to secure local jobs and hopefully trigger local demand for local companies to create more jobs.
The specification to the supplier demanded that the bus shelters were easily replaced in the event of serious damage, they had to be less expensive than what the market offered and had to be vandal proof as far as possible.
They also had to have a bracket to attach a bus stop sign (so that a separate post was not required) and the panels (whether steel or polyurethane) had to be replaceable and easily adapted for advertising.
The bus shelter also had to offer a place for a timetable and local notices.
The design also allowed for two bus shelters to be installed facing opposite one another and offset by two feet for busy stops or where extra shelter was requested.
When the plans for the bus shelters went to the town council there was unamious approval and a colour was decided upon.
Then the bus shelters were installed on the direction of the county council highways department complying with Department for Transport regulations.
The bus shelter outside of the former Co-op building in Woodhorn Road replaced an eyesore vandalised structure that had a crumpled roof, no window panels and did not comply with the regulations.
Furthermore, the county highways said that to comply with the Department of Transport requirements a gap was specified to allow for free access for pushchairs and vehicles driven by the disabled.
They also specified that the bus shelter had to be at least 0.3 metres from the kerb. This meant the width of the bus shelter could be no more than 12 inches.
The town council then considered re-siting that shelter but no one wanted one in front of their house.
The shelter opposite the former police office at Woodlea had to be sited on a new pad because all the utilities for local services run under that pavement.
There was also a condition imposed because the shelter must not restrict the line of vision for the drivers.
The MP and our county councillor are complaining about the rules imposed by the bodies they are part of.
Since Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Town Council installed these shelters other town councils have ordered shelters from the local supplier.
Local jobs for local people.