Outrage over Hartlepool bus stop plan

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COUNCILLORS have narrowly approved plans to relocate a bus stop despite objections from residents living close to where the new site will be.

Hartlepool Borough Council will relocate the bus stop from outside 103 Northgate, west along the road, complete with a new lay-by between Brig Open and 107 Northgate.

Council officers had recommended the bus stop remains where it is due to a negative consultation response but members of the neighbourhood services committee narrowly agreed to relocate it at a cost of £40,000.

Three committee members were in favour and three against but Labour councillor Peter Jackson, committee chairman, used his casting vote in favour of the switch.

Residents opposed to the move attended the meeting and speaking afterwards said they were disappointed.

Liam Wintersgill, a joiner from Northgate, said the new spot was more dangerous because there is three junctions in close proximity and that local residents would prefer it stays where it is.

Labour councillor Sylvia Tempest said she believed the current site was “totally inappropriate” as the bus can be parked in the road.

Mike Blair, the council’s highways, traffic and transport manager, said: “The new location is not dangerous, we would not have proposed it if we thought it was.”

A council report by Alastair Smith, assistant director of neighbourhoods, said: “In 2011, consultation took place into the possibility of re-locating the bus stop currently situated outside of 103 Northgate.

“If successful, the stop would have been moved slightly west along the road, with a newly constructed lay-by to be provided between Brig Open and 107 Northgate.

“Consultation responses proved negative and the plans were shelved.

“Earlier this year the council was again approached about the possibility of re-locating the bus stop.

“The request came from the landlord of 103 Northgate, which is currently a number of flats.

“The landlord was hoping to improve the appearance of the building in an effort to make the flats more attractive to potential tenants, and would like the bus stop moved to further enhance this.”

Labour councillor Rob Cook and Coun Tempest said they were surprised so few people were consulted.

Mr Smith said letters to 11 houses near the bus stop along with ward members and the Parish Council were consulted, with six people objecting and only two in favour of moving it.

The work will be funded from the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements project, which is jointly funded between the Department for Transport and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Afterwards Mr Wintersgill said: “We are very disappointed.”