Concerns over rural bus service change

Concerns have been expressed after a bus route serving a number of remote communities in Northumberland was changed.

From January 22 the Arriva X20 between Newcastle and Alnwick will no longer stop at the villages of Togston and North Broomhill.

There will be a revised route between Hadston and Amble, with buses running via the A1068 and Percy Drive instead of Broomhill and Acklington Road.  This is to serve the growing residential areas to the south of Amble and improve access to both the Links Estate and Coquet Enterprise Park.

However Northumberland County Council's Business Chair Cllr Scott Dickinson, who also lives in the area, has described the changes to the route as "completely unacceptable".
He said: "This removes the ability for elderly people to access the doctors or indeed hospital appointments without travelling to Morpeth first. 
"It makes it impossible for those who work in Ashington to get to work on time, those villages will then only be served once an hour by a bus that only goes to Morpeth. 
"The alternative service does not enter Hadston it stops at the road entrance, therefore cuts off the shopping precient, doctors surgery, post office, chemist and all the other amenities in Hadston that serve the older population of North Broomhill and Togston.  
"We've already received a number of complaints from residents about the changes and a simple trip to Ashington will turn in to a four bus journey which is simply not practical for residents.
"We will be taking this issue up with Arriva at the earliest opportunity."
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