Hundreds sign bus petition

Parish Coun Mike McKie with the petition
Parish Coun Mike McKie with the petition

HUNDREDS of angry residents have signed a petition calling on council bosses to have a re-think after a bus service was axed – leaving half a village cut off.

Almost 300 residents in Greatham village, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, have called on transport chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council to “explore alternative” bus services after the 527 Arriva service was axed at the weekend due to council cuts.

Greatham used to have two bus services – the Stagecoach 36 service, which only goes as far as the junction of High Street and Front Street, and the 527 Arriva service, which used to go from the marina, in Hartlepool, to the Marsh House Lane turning circle, in south Greatham.

The Stagecoach service is still running. But the 527 Arriva service was axed after council funding was cut in the budget for supported bus services.

Leaders on Greatham Parish Council say elderly and disabled residents in the south of the village now face a long walk up the High Street to catch the 36 service.

The petition, which also calls on Hartlepool MP Iain Wright to look at alternatives, said: “We firmly believe the withdrawal of this service is detrimental to the heath and wellbeing of residents and will isolate some of the most vulnerable in Hartlepool.”

Parish councillor Mike McKie, 43, submitted the petition, which has been signed by 290 residents of the village.

The married dad-of-six, who lives in Egerton Terrace in the village, said: “A lot of people in the village have been left devastated by this bus service being stopped as it cuts off half the village.

“It has affected young and old and even those who have cars have signed the petition.

“The village has a population of about 1,000 and to have almost 300 people sign it shows the strength of feeling.

“The service stopped at the weekend and you can already notice a difference in the village.”

Coun McKie also voiced fears that it could harm businesses in the village with fewer people travelling there on buses.

The 527 Arriva service was funded by Hartlepool Borough Council under the supported bus services budget. But that has been cut from next year’s budget.

The local authority needs to slash around £20m from its £90m budget over the next four years.

A spokesman for Arriva has previously said that the number of people using the 527 route did not make it viable.

A council spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received the petition.

“In line with our petitions policy, as agreed by the full council, it will now be forwarded to the appropriate department for consideration.”