‘Big impact on elderly’

A PARISH councillor has hit out at plans to withdraw a bus service in a move which they say will cut off half a village.

Residents living in Greatham currently have two buses that come to the village, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.

The Stagecoach 36 service, which only goes as far as the junction of High Street and Front Street, and the 527 Arriva service, which goes from Old Town, in Hartlepool, to Marsh House Lane turning circle, in south Greatham.

But from the end of this month, the 527 will be withdrawn after council funding was cut in the budget for supported bus services.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 face a long walk up the main high street to catch the 36 service.

Mike McKie, a member of the parish council, said: “Greatham village is quite long and the 527 service goes right down to the bottom.

“The number 36 stops at the edge of the village, just past the pubs on the main High Street.

“There is quite an elderly population and the majority live in the south of the village and face quite a lengthy walk to get from one end to the other.

“Because of the age of the population this will have a massive impact. The service is used, maybe not as much as people would like, but it is used.

“We have started a petition to have some sort of service reinstated and we have a couple of hundred signatures so far.”

The 527 Arriva service is currently funded by Hartlepool Borough Council under the supported bus services budget, which has been cut in next year’s budget.

The service will be withdrawn from the end of March.

A spokesman for Arriva said: “The numbers on that route at present do not make that route currently viable.”