Newbiggin pensioner launches petition over quality of bus shelters

The standard of a number of bus shelters in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea has prompted pensioner Bill Harris to start a petition

Bill Harris who lives in Newbiggin has started a petition over the new bus shelters
Bill Harris who lives in Newbiggin has started a petition over the new bus shelters

A Northumberland pensioner is starting a petition amid anger over the quality of “ornamental” bus shelters in his town.

Bill Harris, 71, of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, is to collect signatures to present to the town council in protest at the standard of a number of shelters in the community installed around 18 months ago.

Yet bosses at the council last night insisted the majority of people are pleased with the shelters and said they may install more.

Mr Harris, who lives at King George’s Road and is a member of Newbiggin Colliery Residents’ Association, travels by bus to Ashington.

He has decided to start a petition in protest at a number of shelters installed at Woodhorn Road, on the Moor Estate and at Dickson’s Corner by Newbiggin by the Sea Town Council.

Mr Harris says the shelters, by their design, do not provide adequate protection against wind, rain or snow.

His petition says they are of “inferior, inadequate design.”

It adds: “Ornamental bus shelters are not fit for purpose. These structures are an insult to the community.”

The forms say one of the shelters is “as much use as a chocolate fireguard” while another is said to be “not much better than nothing.”

Mr Harris added: “They are an absolute waste of money. Everybody is complaining about them.

“They are all right for the South of France but they are no good for where we are.

“There is not enough protection. If you had a big 10 foot wall behind them they would be all right but they are exposed.”

The structures also have only single bars for those waiting to sit on, rather than proper benches.

Mr Harris is to present his petition to the town council at its meeting next month.

He has also invited Labour MP for Wansbeck Ian Lavery and the party’s Northumberland county councillor for Newbiggin Liz, Simpson, to inspect the shelters in his company later this month.

Last night, Will Rogers, mayor of Newbiggin by the Sea and town council chairman, last night said the petition would be considered by members once received.

He added: “There has been the odd comment about that but the majority of people are quite happy with the shelters.

“There are a couple of places where there were not any shelters at all. There are a couple of places we put shelters in by request.”

Coun Rogers said the council is restricted in the number and type of structures it can install by its budget, with it having frozen its precept the last three years.

He also said the size of shelters is restricted by the requirement to leave sufficient room on pavements for mobility scooters.

Coun Rogers also stressed that the shelters had been made by an Ashington company, with the council keen to use local businesses where possible.

He said the council is looking at putting the shelters in other parts of the town.

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