Breakdown in bus communication

A ROUND 50 pensioners who turned up to a council meeting in the mistaken belief that bus cuts would be discussed have questioned the way they were treated by council chiefs.

Elderly residents who turned up to a Hartlepool Borough Council scrutiny co-ordinating committee meeting on Friday say they were dealt with “abruptly” by committee chairman, Councillor Marjorie James.

They had mistakenly been led to believe the future of bus services would be discussed as part of the agenda.

But when they signed in to the meeting, they were informed this was not the case.

They said Coun James informed them that they were welcome to sit through the rest of the meeting or they could leave.

But one resident, Catherine Deighton, from the Hart Lane area, said: “Some of us had come by taxi from Greatham, Dalton Piercy and Elwick and paid £14 return.

“But Coun James just said ‘you have disrupted my meeting’, it was her tone of voice, she was quite abrupt.

“All these old people have been deprived of buses.

“The council is just not interested.

“They dismissed us as though we were nothing.”

Two council staff did eventually speak to the remaining residents outside the meeting room and apologised for the mix-up, explaining they would write to the people who attended.

A council spokesman said: “Clearly, there must have been a mis-understanding because there was never any intention for the withdrawal of bus subsidies to be on the agenda at Friday’s scrutiny meeting.

“However, there have been several previous occasions when the issue has been discussed at council meetings and have been open to the public.

“We have expressed our sympathy to people who travelled from the outskirts of the town to the Civic Centre.”